Uruguayan general election, 2009

Uruguayan general election, 2009
October 25 and November 29, 2009

Nominee José Mujica Luis Alberto Lacalle
Party Broad Front National Party
Running mate Danilo Astori Jorge Larrañaga
Popular vote 1,197,638 994,510
Percentage 54.63% 45.37%

President before election

Tabaré Vázquez
Broad Front

Elected President

José Mujica
Broad Front

General elections for President and Parliament took place in Uruguay on 25 October and 29 November 2009. In parliamentary election results, the Broad Front (left-wing coalition) emerged the winner, electing 16 senators and 50 deputies, while the National Party elected 9 senators and 30 deputies, the Colorado Party 5 Senators and 17 Deputies, and the Independent Party 2 deputies.[1]

In the presidential contest, the first round of voting produced no majority winner, with José Mujica of the incumbent Broad Front receiving 48% of the vote and Luis Alberto Lacalle of the National Party 29%. In the runoff, Mujica handily defeated Lacalle to win the presidency.

Two ballot referendums failed. One would have revoked a previously granted amnesty and the other would have permitted absentee ballots.

Presidential elections


Primaries were held on 28 June 2009. Three parties had several contenders:


The Uruguayan constitution requires a presidential candidate to obtain over 50% of the votes. As Mujica received 48% of the initial vote, a run-off was held on 29 November.[2] In the runoff round, Mujica easily defeated Lacalle, 53% to 43%, to win the Presidency.[3]

Analysts indicated that Mujica won largely because of the popularity of the Broad Front and incumbent President Tabaré Vázquez's pro-business policies that strengthened the country's economy.[4] After taking office in 2005, Vazquez cut the unemployment rate from 12.3 to 7.3 percent, encouraged trade and foreign investment, increased wages and social spending, and boosted the central bank reserves and the country's credit rating.[5]

The Broad Front retained a majority in parliament with 15 senators (plus Danilo Astori, later elected vice-president and thus president of the General Assembly) out of a total of 30 and 50 deputies out of a total of 99. The National Party came in second with 9 senators and 30 deputies. Both parties lost votes and legislative seats in comparison with 2004. The historically dominant Colorado made gains and increased its representation to 5 senators and 17 deputies. Finally, the Independent Party did not achieve its main goal of winning a seat in the Senate, but obtained 2 seats in the lower chamber.

Pedro Bordaberry led the Colorado Party to a notable electoral recovery, practically doubling its votes cast in 2004. The Independent Party, with candidates Pablo Mieres and Iván Posada, gained an additional seat in the Chamber of Deputies. Popular Assembly, a small, new extreme left party, did not win much support.

Party Presidential candidate First round Second round Seats
Votes % Votes % Chamber +/– Senate +/–
Broad FrontJosé Mujica1,105,26249.341,197,63854.6350–316–1
National PartyLuis Alberto Lacalle669,94229.90994,51045.3730–49–1
Colorado PartyPedro Bordaberry392,30717.51 17+75+2
Independent PartyPablo Mieres57,3602.562000
Popular AssemblyRaúl Rodríguez15,4280.690New0New
Invalid/blank votes64,38793,810
Source: Corte Electoral


Two referendums were on the ballot. One would have removed the Law on the Expiration of the Punitive Claims of the State, which granted amnesty for human rights abuses under the 1973–85 dictatorship, during the presidencies of Juan María Bordaberry, Alberto Demicheli, Aparicio Méndez, and Gregorio Álvarez. The other was to enable mail-in votes by citizens living outside Uruguay. Both referenda failed, the first obtaining 47.3% of votes and the second only 36.9%[6]

Uruguayan amnesty revocation referendum, 2009
Choice Votes %
Referendum failed No 1,212,477 52.64
Yes 1,090,859 47.36
Total votes 2,303,336 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 2,562,589 89.86
Uruguayan voting from abroad referendum, 2009
Choice Votes %
Referendum failed No 1,452,645 63.07
Yes 850,691 36.93
Total votes 2,303,336 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 2,562,589 89.86


  1. "Uruguayan ruling coalition retains majority in next Parliament — MercoPress". En.mercopress.com. 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  2. Presidential runoff in Uruguay
  3. Warren, Michael (November 30, 2009). "Ex-guerrilla easily wins Uruguay presidency". Associated Press. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  4. Farrell, Jeff (November 30, 2009). "In Uruguay, former guerrilla wins by moving away from Chávez". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  5. Orihuela, Rodrigo (November 30, 2009). "Former Uruguay Rebel Mujica Wins Presidency on Runoff". Bloomberg. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  6. "Corte Electoral". Elecciones.corteelectoral.gub.uy. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
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