Broad Front

Frente Amplio
PresidentJavier Miranda
Founded5 February 1971
HeadquartersColonia 1367, Montevideo, Uruguay
NewspaperVoces del Frente
IdeologyDemocratic socialism[1]
Social democracy[1]
Political positionCentre-left[2][3] to
International affiliationCOPPPAL
Foro de São Paulo
Socialist International
Progressive Alliance
Alliance of Democrats (Defunct)
Chamber of Deputies
42 / 99
13 / 30
6 / 19
37 / 112
Party flag
Frente Amplio Flag.png

The Broad Front (Spanish: Frente Amplio, FA) is a Uruguayan centre-left to left-wing coalition of political parties. Frente Amplio has close ties with PIT-CNT trade union and the cooperative housing movement. Frente Amplio was the governing party of Uruguay from 2005 to 2020; former Presidents Tabaré Vázquez and José Mujica are members of the party.


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 - as far as available - formed by:

  • Asamblea Uruguay (Uruguay Assembly) led by Danilo Astori
  • Partido Socialista del Uruguay (Socialist Party of Uruguay) led by Daniel Martínez
  • Partido Comunista del Uruguay (Communist Party of Uruguay) led by Eduardo Lorier
  • Corriente 78 (Current 78)
  • Nuevo Espacio (New Space) led by Rafael Michelini
  • Vertiente Artiguista (Artiguist Stream) led by Enrique Rubio
  • Movimiento de Participación Popular (Movement of Popular Participation) led by Lucía Topolansky
  • Partido Demócrata Cristiano del Uruguay (Christian Democratic Party of Uruguay)
  • Partido de los Comunes (Party of the Communes)
  • Confluencia Frenteamplio (Broad Front Confluence)
  • Alianza Progresista (Progressive Alliance) led by Rodolfo Nin Novoa
  • Partido por la Victoria del Pueblo (

    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.[6]

    2004 election: Vazquez and economic restoration

    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.[7][8]

    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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11][12] Economic reform was also highlighted by a change in the immigration policy of the US President and increased beef exports to the European Union.[13][14]

    2009 election: Mujica and social liberation

    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.[15][16] 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.[17] As noted above, Vazquez vetoed a bill to decriminalize abortion in 2008 but the party as a whole was more supportive of the legalization.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20][21] The most recent of major changes under the Mujica presidency is the legalization of marijuana, which was signed in December 2013.[22] 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.[23]

    2014 election: Vazquez is re-elected

    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 government

    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 (and endorsed by the Colorado Party and the Open Cabildo). For the first time in 15 years, the Broad Front was defeated at the polls. The Broad Front also lost its majority and the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate.


Along its history, despite the fact of constantly attracting political factions from other parties, the Broad Front suffered some splits as well: