Government, Political Parties
General Jose, two-party system, Blancos, political divisions, European immigrants
For much of its history, Uruguay essentially had a two-party system, dominated by the National (Blanco) Party and the Colorado Party. Both of these parties were formed in the 1830s by two important military leaders, General Manuel Oribe and General Jose F. Rivera, respectively. During most of the 19th century the titles denoted little more than the personal followings of these two men and of their successors. Gradually, the Colorado Party’s chief support came from the cities and that of the Blancos came from the country. As European immigrants brought more radical ideas to the country, the Colorados became associated with the more liberal urban population, while the Blancos typified the conservative and traditionalist elements of the rural population.
However, since the 1930s there has been no significant programmatic contrast between the two parties. Rather, both Colorados and Blancos have been divided into several factions, and the political divisions among these factions have been far more important than any division between the parties themselves. By the 1990s both the Colorados and the Blancos were conservative.
The Communist Party was legalized in Uruguay in 1985. A leftist coalition, known as the Broad Front, grew in popularity in the 1990s. The Broad Front included Communist and Socialist parties and replaced the Colorados as the party of the left.
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