Politics of Uruguay

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The Politics of Uruguay abide by a presidential representative democratic republic, under which the President of Uruguay is both the head of state and the head of government, as well as a multiform party system. The president exercises executive power and Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the General Assembly of Uruguay. The Judiciary branch is independent from that of the executive and legislature.

The Colorado and National parties have been locked in a power struggle, with the predominance of the Colorado party throughout most of Uruguay's history. The elections of 2004, however, brought the Encuentro Progresista-Frente Amplio-Nueva Mayoría, a coalition of socialists, former Tupamaros, communists, social democrats, and Christian Democrats among others to power with majorities in both houses of parliament. A majority vote elected President Tabaré Vázquez.

In 2009, the Broad Front once again won the elections with a plurality of the votes. A presidential runoff was triggered because their candidate, José Mujica, only received 47.96 percent of the vote. The Broad Front's candidate easily beat Luis Alberto Lacalle of the Nacional Party) in second round of voting. In addition to the presidency, the Broad Front won a simple majority in the Uruguayan Senate and Congress.


Uruguay adopted its first constitution in 1830, following the conclusion of a three year war in which Argentina and Uruguay fought as a regional federation: the United Provinces of Río de la Plata. Sponsored by the United Kingdom, the 1828 Treaty of Montevideo built the foundations for a Uruguayan state and constitution. Attempts to reform the 1830 constitution in 1966 led to the adoption of an entirely new document in 1967. A constitution proposed under a military revolution in 1980 was rejected by a vote of the entire electorate.

Executive branch[edit]

Uruguay's president José Mujica

Uruguay's Constitution of 1967 created a strong presidency, subject to legislative and judicial balance. Many of these provisions were suspended in 1973 but reestablished in 1985. The president, who is both the head of state and the head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term, with the vice president elected on the same ticket. The President must act together with the Council of Ministers, which comprises cabinet ministers, appointed by the president. Thirteen ministers head various executive departments. The ministers can be removed by the General Assembly by a majority vote.

Legislative branch[edit]

The General Assembly (Asamblea General) has two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) has 99 members, elected for a five-year term by proportional representation with at least two members per department. The Chamber of Senators (Cámara de Senadores) has 31 members; 30 members are elected for a five-year term by proportional representation and the Vice-president who presides over it.

Judicial branch[edit]

The Supreme Court is the highest court.

Direct democracy[edit]

The Uruguayan constitution allows citizens to challenge laws approved by Parliament by use of a referendum or to propose changes to the Constitution by the use of a plebiscite.

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in Uruguay. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Uruguay.
e • d 2009 Uruguayan presidential election results
Candidates (Parties) First round Runoff Result
Votes % Votes %
José Mujica (Broad Front) 1,105,262 49.34 1,197,638 54.63 President
Luis Alberto Lacalle (National Party) 669,942 29.90 994,510 45.37  
Pedro Bordaberry (Colorado Party) 392,307 17.51  
Pablo Mieres (Independent Party) 57,360 2.56
Raúl Rodríguez (Popular Assembly) 15,428 0.69
Total valid votes 2,240,299 100.00 2,192,148 100.00
Ballots with YES sheets only (no presidential vote cast) 14,410 0.63
Blank votes 22,828 0.99 53,100 2.32
Total null ballots 26,950 1.17 40,103 1.75
Null provisional ballots 199 0.01 607 0.02
Total votes cast 2,304,686 100.00 2,285,958 100.00
Registered voters 2,563,250 89.91% turnout 2,563,285 89.18% turnout
Source: Corte Electoral (first round), El Dictamen (runoff)
e • d 2009 Uruguayan parliamentary election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Chamber of
Broad Front 1,105,262 49.34 50 16
National Party 669,942 29.90 30 9
Colorado Party 392,307 17.51 17 5
Independent Party 57,360 2.56 2
Popular Assembly 15,428 0.69
Total 2,240,299 100.00
Registered voters 2,563,250 89.86% turnout
Source: Corte Electoral

International organization participation[edit]

Uruguay or Uruguayan organizations participate in the following international organizations:

External links[edit]