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Uruguay’s unusual president

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He’s called the world’s poorest president – and with good reason. He gives 90 per cent of his salary to the poor, drives an old car and has a stall at the local market selling the flowers he and his wife grow.

Meet José Mujica (77), president of Uruguay. After being sworn in to office in early 2010 he turned his back on the opulent presidential palace in the capital, Montevideo, where his predecessors had been based.

He lives on his wife’s farm a few kilometres from the city where he hangs his laundry on the washing line (they don’t have a tumble dryer) and draws water from a well. Two uniformed police guards outside are the only indication that VIPs live there.

Mujica’s old blue VW Beetle, a 1987 model, is his most valuable possession. He also has the use of a “presidential car”, a humble Corsa.

In his free time you’re likely to find him driving a tractor on the farm. That’s how he gets rid of stress, says the president, who’s also known as Pepe.

Read more of Lara Atson’s article in YOU 6 December 2012.

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