Uruguay's former President Jose Mujica has announced he will retire from the Senate on August 14, but has no plans to abandon political life – and may yet run for the presidency again in 2019.
Speaking to local media, 83-year-old Mujica – who ruled from 2010 to 2015 and was immortalized as 'the world's humblest head of state' for donating 90 percent of his US$12,000 monthly salary to charity – said he was stepping down due to his advancing years and international travel plans.
"I feel I will not have the energy to attend parliament," he said, describing commitments as of August 21 to travel to Argentina, Spain, Italy and France "I cannot elude."
But far from heralding Mujica's withdrawal from public life, the Broad Front (FA) senator insisted: "I will participate in the battle of ideas.... There are always pending issues."
"The capacity to think and dream far exceeds the capacity to fulfill that we men have," the leader of the Popular Participation Movement was quoted as saying by Prensa Latina.
Asked about his high point in office, Mujica replied: "Every positive law that contributed to improving distribution." Such efforts, he said, draw little recognition at the time, becoming important only when their results are threatened.
"Parliament gains importance when a dictatorship comes and we lose it. Then we realize the value it has and then we forget it again."
Regarding next year's presidential elections, Mujica said he is still considering whether to run as an independent candidate: "That would be the ideal thing, but I don't know if it will be achieved."