Broad Front (Uruguay)

The Broad Front (Spanish: Frente Amplio, FA) is a left-wing political coalition from Uruguay. It was the ruling party of Uruguay from 2005 to 2020 and has produced two presidents: José Mujica (2010–2015) and Tabaré Vázquez (2005–2010; 2015–2020). Since 1999, it has been the largest party in the General Assembly of Uruguay.

Broad Front
Frente Amplio
PresidentFernando Pereira
FounderLíber Seregni
Founded5 February 1971; 51 years ago (1971-02-05)
HeadquartersColonia 1367, Montevideo
IdeologyDemocratic socialism[1]
Social democracy[1][2]
Socialism of the 21st century[3]
Political positionLeft-wing[4][5][6]
Regional affiliationCOPPPAL
São Paulo Forum
International affiliationSocialist International
Progressive Alliance
Chamber of Deputies
42 / 99
13 / 30
3 / 19
32 / 112
Party flag
Flag of Frente Amplio.svg


Frente Amplio was founded as a coalition of more than a dozen fractured leftist parties and movements in 1971. The first president of the front and its first candidate for the presidency of the country was General Liber Seregni. The front was declared illegal during the 1973 military coup d'état and emerged again in 1984 when democracy was restored in Uruguay.

In 1994 Progressive Encounter (Encuentro Progresista) was formed by several minor independent factions and the Frente Amplio. EP and FA started contesting elections jointly under the name Encuentro Progresista - Frente Amplio. Later another force, Nuevo Espacio, became linked to the front. Thus it started contesting elections as Encuentro Progresista - Frente Amplio - Nueva Mayoria.

In 2005 member organizations of Progressive Encounter and New Majority (essentially Nuevo Espacio) merged into the front, and the coalition took the name of the larger force, Frente Amplio. Previously, EP and later NM had been allied with FA but organizationally separate structures.

The alliance is formed by:

Pre-2004 election: economic crisisEdit

Starting with the election of Luis Alberto Lacalle of the National Party in 1989, economic reform designed to quickly modernize the country began, which lead to a devaluing of the peso and laws protecting banking secrecy. This secrecy lead to Uruguayan banks becoming a place to launder money from drug and other illegal businesses. By the turn of the century, half the nation had to survive in the informal economy. In 2002, the economic crisis of Brazil and Argentina spread to Uruguay, which crashed as a result of lacking productive power. In August of that year, the nation received 1.5 billion US dollars from the IMF to try and help with the crisis. This was the state of the nation when the Broad Front began campaigning for the 2004 election.[7]

The Broad Front firmly established itself as the country's third major political force at the 1994 elections. Its presidential candidate, Tabaré Vázquez, who replaced longtime leader Seregni as the party's standardbearer, finished with the most votes of any individual candidate. However, under the Ley de Lemas system then in use, Vázquez was denied the presidency because the Broad Front finished with the third-most votes of any party, behind the Colorados and Blancos. At the time, the highest-finishing candidate of the party winning the most votes was elected president. At the same time, the Broad Front surged to 31 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and nine seats in the Senate.

The Ley de Lemas was scrapped for presidential elections in favor of a two-round system for the 1999 elections. Vázquez led the field in the first round, but lost the runoff to the Colorados' Jorge Batlle after the two traditional parties set aside their long rivalry to defeat him. At the same time, the Broad Front became the largest party in the legislature.

2004 election: Tabaré Vazquez and economic reformEdit

The party's victorious 2004 campaign was the first instance of a left-leaning party gaining the majority in Uruguay. Two of the major reasons the party took power in 2004 was that there was a substantial movement towards more moderate policies and that their support of an increased welfare state created a bond with working-class people tired of the neo-liberalist practices of the end of the twentieth century.[8][9]

When Tabaré Vázquez first took the position of President with a Broad Front majority in the Uruguayan congress, he quickly moved to strengthen diplomatic relations with other Latin American countries, including Cuba.[10] Important to the future success of the party is the US$100 million anti-poverty program that Vazquez signed early in his career, which helped to ensure the support of the lower class in future elections.[11] Uruguay was in need of economic reform when Vazquez stepped into power in 2005, as it was struggling to recover from the crisis of 2002 with a third of the country still below the poverty line. An important aspect of the economic development was the new Minister of Economics and Finance, Danilo Astori, who worked to create a good relationship with the IMF and obtained the foreign investment, needed to kick start a paper pulp industry.[12][13] Economic reform was also highlighted by a change in the immigration policy of the US president and increased beef exports to the European Union.[14][15]

2009 election: Mujica and social liberationEdit

Since gaining power, the party has maintained the support of the electorate, as analysis of the 2009 election has led to some conclusions that the trust in the stable government played a large part in keeping the Broad Front in power.[16][17] After the 2009 election, former guerrilla José Mujica became president and during his time in power, a number of leftist social policies were passed. The legalization of abortion, same-sex marriage, and marijuana all occurred under the second consecutive Broad Front majority in the federal government.[18] As noted above, Vazquez vetoed a bill to decriminalize abortion in 2008 but the party as a whole was more supportive of the legalization.[19] Support for legal abortions was universal within the party by 2012, when all party senators voted in favor of a new bill that decriminalized the procedure within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.[20] In April 2013 same-sex marriage was passed, supported by the party who took a hard-line stance against the role of the church in legislation on the matter.[21][22] The most recent of major changes under the Mujica presidency is the legalization of marijuana, which was signed in December 2013.[23] A point of consideration for this event is that legalization was not supported by the general population, but the Broad Front still chose to act in favor of it. The economy continued to grow with Astori transitioning from Minister of Economics and Finance to Vice President, a position he used to continue to advertising Uruguay as a safe place for foreign investment.[24]

2014 election: Tabaré Vazquez is re-electedEdit

The Broad Front has supported the re-election of Tabaré Vazquez in the 2014 election, which Vazquez won with 56,63% at the second turn, defeating National Party's candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou. During its second mandate, Vazquez faced strong criticism from the opposition because of its refusal to cut political ties with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, despite allegations of violations of human rights.

2019 election: Out of governmentEdit

The Broad Front supported Daniel Martinez for the 2019 general election. Martinez arrived first at the first turn, but was defeated in the run-off by Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou of the National Party (also endorsed by Colorado Party and Open Cabildo). For the first time in 15 years, the Broad Front was defeated at the polls. The party also lost its majority and in the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, while remaining the largest party in the General Assembly.[25]


In its history, despite attracting political factions from other parties over time, the Broad Front has also suffered some splits as well:


Broad Front consists primarily of progressive political parties. It has tended to follow policies favoring a socialist economy[citation needed] with expanded social programs. Not all the parties in the Broad Front can be considered left-wing, indeed some lean towards fiscal conservatism or social conservatism. Uruguay Assembly of Danilo Astori and New Space of Rafael Michelini can be considered a centrist party and Astori has followed fiscal conservative policies as finance minister, whereas the Christian Democratic Party is vocally opposed to abortion.

Results in the 2004 internal electionsEdit

In 2004 the first internal elections for EP-FA-NM was held. Previously elections had only been held within FA.

List Party Votes %
609 Espacio 609 Movimiento de Participación Popular 148,426 33.18
Izquierda Abierta
Movimiento Claveles Rojos
Columna Blanca
90 Espacio 90 Partido Socialista 79,090 17.68
Movimiento Socialista Emilio Frugoni
Partido por la Seguridad Social
Acción Renovadora
2121 Espacio 2121 Asamblea Uruguay 40,741 9.11
Movimiento Popular Frenteamplista
738 Alianza Progresista Confluencia Frenteamplista 37,628 8.41
Corriente 78
Partido Demócrata Cristiano
Corriente Encuentrista Independiente
77 Vertiente Artiguista Artiguismo y Unidad 34,536 7.72
Izquierda Democrática Independiente
99000 Nuevo Espacio 30,762 6.88
1001 Democracía Avanzada Partido Comunista del Uruguay 26,569 5.94
Frente Izquierda de Liberación
326 Movimiento 26 de Marzo 12,175 2.72
1303 Corriente Popular 8,776 1.96
1813 Liga Federal Frenteamplista 7,425 1.66
5271 Corriente de Izquierda Tendencia Marxista 5,233 1.17
Alternativa Popular 1815 - Espacio Solidario
Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores-CI
Unión Popular
567 Unión Frenteamplista Partido por la Victoria del Pueblo 2,664 0.64
9393 Corriente de Unidad Frenteamplista 2,354 0.53
1968 Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores-IV Internacional 387 0.09
871 Partido Obrero Revolucionario (Trotskista-Posadista) 371 0.08
5205 Movimiento 20 de Mayo 198 0.04
11815 86 0.02
2571 Agrupación 5 de Febrero de 1971 23 0.01
Total: 447,313

Electoral historyEdit

Presidential electionsEdit

Election Party candidate Running mate Votes % Votes % Result
First Round Second Round
1971 Líber Seregni Juan José Crottogini 304,275 18.3% Lost  N
1984 Juan José Crottogini José D'Elía 401,104 21.3% Lost  N
1989 Liber Seregni Danilo Astori 418,403 20.35% Lost  N
1994 Tabaré Vázquez Rodolfo Nin Novoa 621,226 30.6% Lost  N
1999 861,202 40.1% 982,049 45.9% Lost  N
2004 1,124,761 51.7% Elected  Y
2009 José Mujica Danilo Astori 1,105,262 47.96% 1,197,638 54.63% Elected  Y
2014 Tabaré Vázquez Raúl Sendic 1,134,187 47.81% 1,226,105 53.48% Elected  Y
2019 Daniel Martínez Graciela Villar 949,376 40.49% 1,152,271 49.21% Lost  N

Chamber of Deputies and Senate electionsEdit

Election Votes % Chamber seats +/− Senate seats +/− Position Size
1971 304,275 18.3%
18 / 99
5 / 30
New Opposition 3rd
1984 401,104 21.3%
21 / 99
6 / 30
  1 Opposition   3rd
1989 418,403 20.35%
21 / 99
7 / 30
  1 Opposition   3rd
1994 621,226 30.8%
31 / 99
9 / 31
  2 Opposition   3rd
1999 861,202 40.1%
40 / 99
12 / 30
  3 Opposition   1st
2004 1,124,761 51.7%
52 / 99
17 / 30
  5 Majority   1st
2009 1,105,262 47.96%
50 / 99
16 / 30
  1 Majority   1st
2014 1,134,187 47.81%
50 / 99
15 / 30
  1 Majority   1st
2019 949,376 40.49%
42 / 99
13 / 30
  2 Opposition   1st

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Gregory, Stephen (2009), Intellectuals and Left Politics in Uruguay, 1958-2006, Sussex Academic Press, p. 129, ISBN 9781845192655
  2. ^ "Is Social Democracy Possible in Latin America?". Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ Press, Europa (2012-04-09). "Mujica apoya las ideas del socialismo del siglo XXI aunque descarta aplicarlas en Uruguay". Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  4. ^ Schooley, Helen (2001), "Uruguay — History", South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2002, Europa Publications, p. 760, ISBN 9781857431216
  5. ^ Busky, Donald F. (2002), Communism in History and Theory: Asia, Africa, and the Americas, Praeger Publishers, p. 224, ISBN 9780275977337
  6. ^ "Los 50 años del Frente Amplio en Uruguay: Del sueño utópico de la izquierda a renovarse fuera del poder". 4 February 2021.
  7. ^ Taylor, John B. (29 May 2007). The 2002 Uruguayan Financial Crisis: Five Years Later (PDF) (Report).
  8. ^ Scardi, Paolo; Azanza Ricardo, Cristy L.; Perez-Demydenko, Camilo; Coelho, Alan A. (1 December 2018). "Whole powder pattern modelling macros for TOPAS". Journal of Applied Crystallography. 51 (6): 1752–1765. doi:10.1107/s160057671801289x. S2CID 105756269.
  9. ^ Lorenzoni, Miguel; Pérez, Verónica (December 2013). "Cambios y Continuidades de la Izquierda en Uruguay: un Análisis a Partir de las Propuestas Programáticas del Frente Amplio 1971–2009" [Changes and continuities of the left in Uruguay: an analysis of the Broad Front manifestos, 1971-2009]. Revista Uruguaya de Ciencia Política (in Spanish). 22 (1): 81–102. hdl:20.500.12008/7017. ProQuest 1500359242.
  10. ^ "Uruguay bolsters regional links". 2005-03-02. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  11. ^ Tobar, Hector; D'Alessandro, Andres (2 March 2005). "Leftist Sworn In as Uruguay Leader". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Thomson, Adam (7 June 2005). "Uruguay's leftwing coalition impresses markets FT INTERVIEW DANILO ASTORI". Financial Times. p. 6.
  13. ^ Gudynas, Eduardo; Carolina, Villalba Medero (6 September 2007). "Growth Is Not Development and Brazil Is Proof of It". Brazzil. ProQuest 201563386.
  14. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (11 March 2007). "In Uruguay, Bush Finds Friendly Ear and Taste of Home". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Thor, Eric; Bailey, DeeVon; Silva, Alejandro; Vickner, Steven (1 January 2007). "Economic Analysis of Incentives for Foreign Direct Investment in Beef Systems in Argentina and Uruguay". International Food and Agribusiness Management Review. 10 (3): 19–40. doi:10.22004/ag.econ.8167.
  16. ^ Selios, Lucía; Vairo, Daniela (June 2012). "Elecciones 2009 en Uruguay: permanencia de lealtades políticas y accountability electoral". Opinião Pública. 18 (1): 198–215. doi:10.1590/S0104-62762012000100010.
  17. ^ Altman, David (September 2010). "The 2009 elections in Uruguay". Electoral Studies. 29 (3): 533–536. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2010.04.014.
  18. ^ Romero, Simon; Rabuffetti, Mauricio (30 November 2014). "Tabaré Vázquez Reclaims Presidency in Uruguay Election". The New York Times.
  19. ^ "Uruguay's leader quits his party". 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  20. ^ Coleman, Korva (26 September 2012). "Lawmakers In Uruguay Vote To Legalize Abortion". WBUR.
  21. ^ "Uruguay: Same-Sex Marriage Is Legalized". The New York Times. The Associated Press. 10 April 2013.
  22. ^ Shoichet, Catherine E.; Klein, Dario (3 April 2013). "Uruguay's senate approves same-sex marriage bill". CNN.
  23. ^ "Boyne, 10th Viscount, (Gustavus Michael George Hamilton-Russell) (10 Dec. 1931–14 Dec. 1995)", Who Was Who, Oxford University Press, 2007-12-01, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u171277
  24. ^ "A business climate that protects investment". Latin Trade. Vol. 19, no. 5. 2011. p. 91.
  25. ^ "Uruguay ushers in first conservative government in 15 years".

External linksEdit