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1999 Uruguayan general election

General elections were held in Uruguay on 31 October 1999 alongside a double referendum, with a second round of the presidential election on 28 November.[1] The elections were the first in Uruguay since World War I that were not dominated by the Colorado Party and the National Party. The Broad Front had begun gaining popularity in 1994, and had become key player in Uruguayan politics by 1999.[2]

1999 Uruguayan general election

← 1994 31 October 1999 (first round)
29 November 1999 (second round)
2004 →
  Jorge Batlle.jpg Tabaré26022007.jpg
Nominee Jorge Batlle Tabaré Vázquez
Party Colorado Party Broad Front
Running mate Luis Antonio Hierro López Rodolfo Nin
Popular vote 1,158,708 982,049
Percentage 54.13% 45.87%

President before election

Julio María Sanguinetti
Colorado Party

Elected President

Jorge Batlle
Colorado Party

The result was a victory for the Broad Front–Progressive Encounter alliance in the General Assembly, with the alliance winning the most seats in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. In the presidential elections, Tabaré Vázquez of the Broad Front received the most votes in the first round, but was defeated by Jorge Batlle of the Colorado Party in the second round.[3][4]

Electoral systemEdit

Changes to the electoral law prior to the elections allowed third parties like the Broad Front a wider opportunity for participation. Parties were now required to hold primaries on the same day in April to elect a single presidential candidate; previously several candidates from a single party had been able to run for the presidency. The reforms also introduced the two-round system for the presidential election, with a candidate now required to receive over 50% of the vote to be elected in the first round, or face a run-off against the second-place candidate. Although the double simultaneous vote method (in which voters cast a single vote for the party of their choice for the Presidency, Senate and Chamber of Representatives) was retained, it prevented parties from submitting different lists.[5]

The 30 members of the Senate were elected by proportional representation in a single nationwide constituency,[6] whilst the 99 members of the Chamber of Representatives were elected by proportional representation in 19 multi-member constituencies based on the departments. Seats were allocated using the highest averages method.[7]


The requirement to choose a single presidential candidate created tension in some parties. The National Party chose Luis Alberto Lacalle, who had been president from 1990 to 1995. The Colorado Party primaries were won by Jorge Batlle, whilst the Broad Front selected Tabaré Vázquez.[8]

The Colorado Party spent the most on the campaign, spending the equivalent of US$11.1m ($3.1m in the primaries and $8m in the main election). The Broad Front spend $8m ($670,000 during the primaries and $7.4m during the main campaign) and the National Party $7m ($2m in the primaries and $5m during the main election). Other parties spent $500,000 during both stages of the elections.[9]


Party Presidential candidate First round Second round Seats
Votes % Votes % Chamber +/– Senate +/–
Broad Front–Progressive Encounter Tabaré Vázquez 861,202 40.1 981,778 45.9 40 +9 12 +3
Colorado Party Jorge Batlle 703,915 32.8 1,158,708 54.1 33 +1 10 –1
National Party Luis Alberto Lacalle 478,980 22.3 22 –9 7 –3
New Space Rafael Michelini 97,943 4.6 4 –1 1 0
Civic Union Luis Pieri 5,109 0.2 0 0 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 57,735 65,626
Total 2,204,884 100 2,206,112 100 99 0 30 –1
Registered voters/turnout 2,402,160 91.8 2,402,135 91.8
Source: Nohlen


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p494 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  2. ^ URUGUAY: parliamentary elections Camara de Senadores, 1999 IPU
  3. ^ Uruguay: 1999 Presidential Election, first round Political Database of the Americas
  4. ^ Uruguay: 1999 Presidential Election, second round Political Database of the Americas
  5. ^ Electoral systems and democracy. Diamond, Larry Jay., Plattner, Marc F., 1945-. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2006. ISBN 0801884748. OCLC 69241465.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ Senate: Electoral system IPU
  7. ^ Chamber of Deputies: Electoral system IPU
  8. ^ Cason, Jeffrey W. (April 2000). "Electoral Reform and Stability in Uruguay". Journal of Democracy. Volume 11: 85–98 – via Project MUSE.
  9. ^ Casas-Zamora, Kevin. "State funding and campaign finance practices in Uruguay". Cuadernos del CLAEH. 1 (SE). ISSN 0797-6062.