Sunderland co-owner Juan Sartori facing crunch time in Uruguayan presidential race as National Party head to polls

Sunderland co-owner Juan Sartori is nearing crunch time in his bid to become the next president of Uruguay.

By Mark Donnelly
Sunday, 30 June, 2019, 06:00
Sunderland co-owner Juan Sartori will face the polls today

The 38-year-old, who obtained a 20% stake in the Black Cats following Stewart Donald’s takeover last summer, will learn today (June 30) whether he will be the National Party’s candidate for the upcoming Uruguayan presidential elections.

Sartori, who outlined his bid to become the president of his homeland last year, will be aiming to win the party’s internal primary elections.

His main competition will come in the form of Luis Lacalle Pou - a lawyer and politician who also stood for the presidency in 2014.

Indeed, internal polls suggest that Pou remains the favourite to win the primary election, with 45% of members suggesting he was their preferred candidate. Sartori, meanwhile, has the support of around 32% of the ballot - with the election looking to be a two-horse race.

There remains hope that Sartori can increase his share of the vote ahead of the internal election, having undertaken some intense campaigning in recent weeks.

The Sunderland shareholder embarked on a tour of the 19 capitals of Uruguay’s states, culminating in his hometown and capital city Montevideo on Thursday, in a final bid to sway party members.

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Speaking on social media after finalising the tour, Sartori said: “3 DAYS, 19 CAPITALS.

“This is only the first of our achievements and proof that anything is possible if we are together.

“This Sunday, I'm counting on your vote.

And he will discover whether his bid has been successful once the ballots open today.

Should Sartori manage to pip Pou to the candidacy, then there seems hope that the National Party can regain the presidency - with recent opinion polls suggesting that they and the incumbent Broad Front party are neck-and-neck to win the full election in October.

It remains unclear what impact, if any, Sartori’s success may have on his involvement with the Black Cats - with reports suggesting he may sell a percentage of his shareholding to the consortium led by Mark Campbell, who remain locked in talks with Donald over a potential takeover.