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Uruguay’s first female vice president is convicted ex-guerrilla

Uruguay’s newly named Vice President Lucia Topolansky presides over a session in Senate chambers, in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Wednesday, September 13, 2017. (File photo by AP)
MONTEVIDEO: Uruguay’s new vice president is a 72-year-old formerly imprisoned ex-guerrilla who is also the wife of popular former president Jose Mujica.
Lucia Topolansky begins her first full day on the job Thursday after the country’s General Assembly appointed her following the resignation of vice president Raul Sendic over allegations he used public money for personal shopping. Sendic denies the charges.
By law, the job second to President Tabare Vazquez should have gone to the senator who won the highest number of votes in the last election — but that happened to be Topolansky’s husband, who was president 2010-2015.
Mujica cannot take the position because of a five-year ban on re-election. Enter Topolansky, a leading member of the party with the highest number of votes in Uruguay’s governing leftist coalition.
Like her husband, Topolansky was member of the National Liberation Movement MLN-Tupamaros guerrillas in the 1960s and 70s.
She spent 13 years in prison for her activities, most of it during Uruguay’s military regime, and once escaped but was recaptured.
Topolansky’s job includes being head of the National Assembly and leader of the Uruguayan senate.
She is Uruguay’s first female vice president.