Uruguay Recent History

Return to democracy

The 30 of November of 1980 the citizenship rejects the draft constitutional reform proposed by the dictatorial regime, ushering in a slow process of political opening. On 1 September as as 1981 assumes the presidency the general Gregorio Alvarez, who in 1984 called elections, albeit with citizens and political parties banned. After being held that same year, the Colorado Party emerged triumphant. During the first days of 1985 Álvarez left the command in the hands of the President of the Supreme Court of Justice in office, Rafael Addiego Bruno and, finally, on March 1, 1985 the government returned to civilians with the assumption of Julio María Sanguinetti as President.

In an agreement to leave the past behind and return in peace to the Party system, the majority political parties agreed to vote an amnesty law that extinguished all crimes committed as of January 1, 1962 in relation to subversive actions, but excluding To express text the police and military officials who had committed crimes related to what they called “anti-subversive struggle” which was nothing more than the violent repression against the public sectors.

In the November 1989 elections, Luis Alberto Lacalle (of the National Party) was elected. In 1994 Sanguinetti was elected for the second time.

In 1996, a constitutional reform was put to the public’s consideration that established internal elections and the ballot for the first time; Said reform is approved by a small margin in the plebiscite. Thus, in 1999 Jorge Batlle (from the Colorado Party) triumphed as a result of this new system.

Economic, political and social crisis of the year 2002

Since the government of Julio María Sanguinetti, Uruguay has faced a severe economic recession.

In July of 2002, one of the hottest moments of the banking crisis, Senator of the Frente Amplio, Alberto Couriel, was responsible for the interpellation of the then Minister Alberto Bensión, in which all members of the Frente Amplio and a few of the National Party formally asked him to resign from office. This did not happen, but Rodríguez Batlle was removed.

In mid-July the rejection of the National Party, until then an ally of the Batlle government, for the economic policy that was being carried out was made public. It was then that together with the Broad Front, they again asked for Bensión’s resignation and they succeeded. Bensión left office on August 20 and Alejandro Atchugarry, who was then serving as a senator for the Colorado Party, took office.

On July 30, the bank holiday was decreed. The Batlle government excused itself by saying that it was an express request from the IMF to proceed with the liquidation of the banks of the Peirano group. The objective of this decision was to stop the flight of deposits that the Uruguayan financial market had been suffering from since 2001, since many Argentine savers turned to their savings in Uruguay when they were unable to withdraw money in their country. The ATMs ran out of money, the exchange houses sold the dollar at 38 pesos and bought it at 24. The bank holiday ended on Monday , August 5.

While the country was in chaos in the United States, Isaac Alfie led the delegation that Batlle had sent to form a working group with delegates from the North American government, since Horst Köhler, director of the IMF, had given the order not to lend him a dollar. more to Uruguay. Finally, the United States agreed with Uruguay a bridge loan of 1.5 billion dollars to capitalize state banks. That was the beginning of the end of the country’s economic crisis.

According to allcitycodes, the 2002 crisis left devastating figures for the country. Such is the case of the suicide rate, which increased by 12.6%, that is, two Uruguayans committed suicide per day and there were many cases of self-elimination attempts.

As a direct economic consequence of this crisis, the real wage fell sharply, reaching its floor between 2003 and 2004 with a loss of 22% compared to 2000. For its part, the unemployment rate climbed to a maximum. in 2002 of 17%, rising 3 and a half percentage points with respect to the moment of taking office.

Towards the end of his government, unemployment rates reversed their trend, reaching lower figures than at the time of his inauguration. On the contrary, the fall suffered by real wages could not be reversed, standing in 2005, 18.6 percentage points below the figures for 2000.


In the presidential elections of 2004, the socialist and oncologist Tabaré Vázquez was elected, candidate for the leftist coalition Progressive Encounter-Frente Amplio-Nueva Mayoría with 50.6% of the votes, achieving victory in the first round and achieving a parliament with absolute majorities.

Tabaré Vázquez belonged to the Uruguayan Socialist Party for more than 25 years, he withdrew from it in December 2008 due to philosophical discrepancies in his position regarding the decriminalization of abortion, however without ceasing to continue being a person of deep socialist ideals. In the municipal elections of 2005, the National Party obtained ten municipalities, the EP-FA-NM obtained eight and the Colorado Party obtained one.

In the general elections of October 2009, the Frente Amplio once again achieved a parliamentary majority with 48% of the total votes (counting blank and annulled votes), while the National Party came second with 29.4%, the Colorado Party third obtaining 17.5%, the Broad Front vote did not achieve an absolute majority of the total votes cast, including blank and annulled votes, so the presidential election was defined on November 29, 2009 through a Ballot between the leftist José Mujica Cordano of the Frente Amplio and the right-wing former president Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera of the National Party.

José “Pepe” Mujica was elected as President of Uruguay and successor to Tabaré Vázquez. The Broad Front formula obtained 52.4% of the votes, while the other candidate, former white president Luis Alberto Lacalle (1990 – 1995), obtained 43.5%, according to the results of the Electoral Court..

After 15 years of Frente Amplio governments in the 2019 presidential elections, the nationalist Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou won the ballot with 48.88% of the votes, leading a center-right coliation that includes the Colorado (PC), Cabildo Abierto (CA), Independiente (PI) and Partido de la Gente (PG).

Uruguay Recent History