Uruguay is a republic state based on parliamentary democracy with strong presidential form of government. Uruguay (official name: Oriental Republic of Uruguay) is known for its advanced education and social security systems and liberal social laws among other South America countries.
President is both chief of the state and head of the government and is elected by a popular vote for five-year term. President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and enjoys all the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs.
The legislature in Uruguay is bicameral. The parliament called General Assembly consists of: Chamber of Senators (the upper house) having 30 seats with members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms, vice president has one additional vote in the Senate; and Chamber of Representatives (the lower house) having 99 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. President has the power to veto acts of the legislature, and in turn a supermajority (two-third) of legislators may act to override the veto. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament. The people of Uruguay have considerable political rights.
The judiciary is largely independent, but has become increasingly inefficient in the face of escalating crime and backlog of cases. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1967 (modified in 1989 and 1997). The legal system is based on Spanish civil law system. Uruguay accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Spanish is the judicial language used in the country, having an interpreter is possible.
Uruguay is largely ruled by law; however discrimination against the country’s black minority and violence against women is a problem. Foreign nationals cannot be always guaranteed an impartial trail from the country’s judicial system. Though a certain degree of corruption exists in the corporate sector and the government departments; but government is taking necessary measures to curb it. It is one of the least corrupt nations in Latin America.
Major political parties
Uruguay has a multi-party system, with three dominant political parties. It has been extreme difficulty for any other political party to achieve electoral success. However, Uruguay’s first coalition government has come to power in 2005. The three dominant parties are:
- Colorado Party - a liberal and social-democratic party, the most elected party in Uruguayan history;
- National Party - a liberal conservative party also called ‘White Party’;
- Independent Party - a social democratic and Christian socialist party, advocates ‘Third Way’ - an alternative to the traditional left- and right-wing politics.
Major political leaders
President: Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since March 2005) – EPFA (Broad Front-Progressive Encounter-New Majority) which is a coalition comprising of about a dozen small left-wing political parties.
Next political election dates
Presidential: October 2009
Chamber of Senators: October 2009
Chamber of Representatives: October 2009