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date: 25 July 2021

Uruguay’s Stability and Change in an Institutionalized Party Systemlocked

Uruguay’s Stability and Change in an Institutionalized Party Systemlocked

  • Rafael Piñeiro RodríguezRafael Piñeiro RodríguezDepartment of Social Sciences and Politics, Universidad Católica del Uruguay
  •  and Fabrizio Scrollini MendezFabrizio Scrollini MendezExecutive Director, Open Data Latin American Initiative

Summary

Uruguay is considered one of the most democratic, transparent, and stable countries in the world, an outlier in the Latin American context. The institutionalized nature of Uruguay’s party system contributed significantly to democracy, but was not sufficient to prevent a military dictatorship period in the context of the Cold War (1973–1984). Eventually, the political party system adapted to accommodate the emergence of the Broad Front (left), which gained the most votes of any political party in 1999 and won the election in 2005. The recent wave of progressive reforms in Uruguay, such as the introduction of universal healthcare, abortion laws, same-sex marriage laws, and cannabis legalization can be explained by the strong links political parties (particularly on the left) maintain with social movements. Further, this link also helps to explain the legitimacy that political parties still retain in Uruguay. Nevertheless, Uruguayan democracy faces challenges in terms of transparency, equality, and the risk of democratic “deconsolidation.”

Subjects

  • Governance/Political Change

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