Broad Front

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Broad Front

A coalition of the Uruguayan Left that was formed in March 1971, the Broad Front (Frente Amplio) united the country's traditional Left (Communists and Socialists), the Christian Democrats, the new radical Left, and splinters of the traditional parties, such as Alba Roballo and Zelmar Michelini, with his List 99 from the Colorado Party, and Enrique Erro and Francisco Rodríguez Camusso from the Blanco (National) Party. The Frente was the culmination of the strategy of popular fronts that had been embraced by much of the Left in Latin America in the 1970s. In Uruguay, some earlier attempts were the Leftist Freedom Front (Frente Izquierda de Liberación—FIDEL) put forth by the Communist Party and the Popular Union, which united the Socialists and the Blanco splinter group led by Erro. The Frente Amplio arose during a convulsive period in Uruguayan political history that was characterized by crises in the traditional parties, left-wing radicalism in the unions, and the appearance of an urban guerrilla movement. In the elections of 1971, the Frente won 18.3 percent of the vote.

With the coup d'état in 1973, the Frente was outlawed, and its leaders were jailed, persecuted, and sent into exile. Working in secret or from abroad, they developed strategies to oppose the dictatorship, and by the end of the dictatorship the Frente Amplio had become a key negotiator. Legalized once again for the 1984 elections, it won 21.3 percent of the vote. When its more moderate factions—List 99 and the Christian Democrats—were excised, the coalition showed that it had attained its own identity, one that went beyond the groups that composed it. In 1989 it had its first victory in the capital, electing the Socialist Tabaré Vázquez to the municipal administration of Montevideo, and it demonstrated that it remained a significant force nationally, winning 21.2 percent of the overall vote. In the twenty-first century, Broad Front firmly established its presence winning in 2004 the presidency under Tabaré Vázquez.

See alsoErro, Enrique; Michelini, Zelmar; Vazquez, Tabare.


Carlos Real De Azúa, "Política, poder y partidos en el Uruguay de hoy," in Luis Benvenuto et al., Uruguay Hoy (1971).

Carlos Zubillaga and Romeo Pérez, "Los partidos polítocos, in El Uruguay de nuestro tiempo (1983).

Miguel Aguirre, El Frente Amplio (1985).

Gerardo Caetano et al., De la tradición a la crisis: Pasado y presente de nuestro sistema de partidos (1985).

Luis E. González, Political Structures and Democracy in Uruguay (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Lanzaro, Jorge Luis, Daniel Buquet, and Alfonso Castiglia. La izquierda uruguaya entre la oposición y el gobierno. Montevideo: Editorial Fin de Siglo, 2004.

Yaffé, Jaime. Al centro y adentro la renovación de la izquierda y el triunfo del Frente Amplio en Uruguay. Montevideo: Linardi y Risso, 2005.

                                  Fernando Filgueira