Luis Lacalle Pou
Foto Oficial Presidente Luis Lacalle Pou.jpg
42nd President of Uruguay
Assumed office
1 March 2020
Vice PresidentBeatriz Argimón
Preceded byTabaré Vázquez
Senator of Uruguay
In office
15 February 2015 – 12 August 2019
President of the Chamber of Representatives
In office
1 March 2011 – 1 March 2012
Preceded byIvonne Passada
Succeeded byJorge Orrico
Representative of Uruguay
for Canelones
In office
15 February 2000 – 15 February 2015
Personal details
Born
Luis Alberto Alejandro Aparicio Lacalle Pou

(1973-08-11) 11 August 1973 (age 46)
Montevideo, Uruguay
Political partyNational Party
Spouse(s)
Children
  • Luis Alberto
  • Violeta
  • Manuel
ParentsLuis Alberto Lacalle
Julia Pou
ResidenceResidencia de Suarez
EducationThe British Schools
Alma materCatholic University of Uruguay
Signature

Luis Alberto Alejandro Aparicio Lacalle Pou (born 11 August 1973) is a Uruguayan politician and lawyer serving as President of Uruguay since 1 March 2020.[1] A member of the National Party, he is among the country's youngest presidents.[2]

Born in Montevideo, he is the son of former President of Uruguay, Luis Alberto Lacalle, and Julia Pou, a former senator and first lady.[3][4] Lacalle Pou attended The British Schools of Montevideo, and graduated from Catholic University of Uruguay in 1998. He has a law degree. From 2000 to 2015 he served as National Representative, and from 2015 to 2019 as Senator. In 2011 he held the position of President of the Chamber of Representatives, during the first session of the 47th Legislature.[5]

Political career

In the 1999 general elections, he was elected representative for Canelones, serving the 2000–2005 term. He was re-elected in 2004 under the herrerismo faction of the National Party, a movement founded by his great-grandfather, Luis Alberto de Herrera. In 2009 general election, he was elected for a third consecutive time and served until 2015.

He was a candidate for Intendant of Canelones in the 2010 municipal election,[6] obtaining 22.82% of the votes and being defeated by Marcos Carámbula of the Broad Front.

Lacalle Pou's career superficially mirrors that of Pedro Bordaberry, also a son of a former president of Uruguay who followed his father into politics.

Lacalle Pou is the leader of the political lists 404 (Montevideo) and 400 (Canelones).

Presidential candidacies

2014

On 30 March 2014, Lacalle Pou launched his bid for the presidency.[7] On 1 June 2014 he was nominated as candidate of his party for the presidential elections in October, in which he was elected Senator of the Republic.[8] He was defeated on the second round of presidential election on 30 November 2014.

2019

In the 2019 presidential primaries, Lacalle Pou competed against Enrique Antía, Carlos Iafigliola, again Jorge Larrañaga and against the new candidate Juan Sartori, with whom he maintained a tense relationship. Lacalle Pou accused him of spreading fake news, some of these cases were brought to justice.[9] Lacalle Pou won by 53% of the votes, enough to announce Beatriz Argimón the same night of 30 June as a vice president candidate.[10]

On 24 November 2019, Luis Lacalle Pou garnered 48.71% of the unofficial vote in the second round of the 2019 general election. His opponent, Broad Front candidate and former intendant of Montevideo, Daniel Martínez obtained 47.51% of the vote. The Electoral Court of Uruguay would publish the official results by Friday, 29 November 2019, as observed votes were still to be counted, totaling more than the difference between the two candidates, thus being too close to call. Daniel Martinez did not concede the race then, awaiting the official count. Lacalle Pou unofficially declared himself the winner, as the votes already counted marked an irreversible trend. Martínez conceded defeat on 28 November 2019. On 30 November, final votes counts confirmed Lacalle Pou as the winner with 48.8% of the total votes cast over Martínez with 47.3%.[11] He was the first National/Blanco candidate to win the presidency since his father left office in 1995. His election also marked only the fourth time in 154 years that the Blancos had been elected to lead the government.

President of Uruguay

Lacalle took office on March 1, 2020. After the constitutional oath before the General Assembly, he paraded down with Vice President Beatriz Argimón along Libertador Avenue in a 1937 Ford V8 convertible that belonged to his great-grandfather, Luis Alberto de Herrera.[12] The parade ended in Plaza Independencia, where he received the presidential sash from the outgoing President Tabaré Vázquez.

Lacalle had announced during his electoral campaign the introduction of a package of government measures through an urgent consideration law, a prerogative of the Executive Power in Uruguay that allows it to send to the General Assembly a bill with a peremptory term of 90 days, expired which is approved in the affirmative form if the General Assembly is not issued to the contrary.[13] The 2020 coronavirus pandemic delayed the presentation of the bill, which finally formally entered the Parliament on April 23, 2020.[14]

Cabinet

Lacalle announced his cabinet on December 16, 2019, which is formed by an electoral alliance, the Coalición Multicolor, which is made up of the National Party, the Colorado Party, Open Cabildo, the Independent Party and the Party of the People.[15] He declared that it was going to be a "government of action",[16] and that he wanted to form a "government that talks a lot with the people".[17]

 The Presidential Standard of Uruguay
Cabinet of Luis Lacalle Pou's Government
Office Name Political party Term
Ministry of National Defense Javier García Duchini National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of the Interior Jorge Larrañaga National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Foreign Relations Ernesto Talvi Colorado 1 Mar 2020 – 6 Jul 2020
Francisco Bustillo nonpartisan politician 6 Jul 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Economy and Finance Azucena Arbeleche National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Education and Culture Pablo Da Silveira National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Public Health Daniel Salinas Open Cabildo 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Social Development Pablo Bartol National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Pablo Mieres Independent 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works Luis Alberto Héber National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining Omar Paganini National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment Irene Moreira Open Cabildo 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Ministry of Tourism Germán Cardoso Colorado 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Secretariat of Sports Sebastián Bauzá National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Secretariat of the Presidency Álvaro Delgado National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Deputy Secretariat of the Presidency Rodrigo Ferrés National 1 Mar 2020 – pres.
Office of Planning and Budget Isaac Alfie Colorado 1 Mar 2020 – pres.

Foreign policy

During Lacalle Pou's first days of presidency, Uruguay's foreign relations shifted substantially from those under Broad Front. After taking office, he condemned the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.[18] And also Lacalle decided not to invite him to his inauguration stating "it is a personal decision, which I take care of. This is not the Chancellery, this is not protocol, this is my person who made this decision".[19] The presidents of Cuba and Nicaragua were not invited either.[20]

Lacalle's government ordered the withdrawal of Uruguay from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), arguing that it occurred because "it is an organization that became an ideological political alliance contrary to the country's objectives of linking."[21] In addition, it was reported that the country would return to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR)[22] and that the government would support Luis Almagro in a re-election to the post of president of the Organization of American States.[21]

Coronavirus pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic emerged within the first days of Lacalle Pou's presidence. The first four cases, all imported, were reported on 13 March. On 14 March, Lacalle requested the cancellation of public performances, and the closure of some public places. An awareness campaign was launched and citizens were advised to stay home. A two-week suspension of classes at public and private schools was also announced.[23] On 16 March, Lacalle issued an order to close all border crossings except Carrasco International Airport.[24] The border with Argentina was closed effective 17 March at midnight.[25]

Lacalle refused to implement the lockdown, appealing for "individual freedom".[26][27] On April 8, he announced the reopening of rural schools on April 22. It was also reported that the reopening would be in educational centers in the interior of the country, excluding those of Montevideo and Canelones; and that attendance would be voluntary.[28] It was 35% of the total registered.[29] On April, 17 he informed that his administration decided to create a group, made up of experts that would define methods and studies to advise the government. The experts would be: the mathematician, electrical engineer, and academic from the Latin American Academy of Sciences, Fernando Paganini; Dr. Rafael Radi, the first Uruguayan scientist at the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and president of the National Academy of Sciences of Uruguay; and Dr. Henry Cohen, President of the National Academy of Medicine and awarded as a Master by the World Gastroenterology Organisation in 2019.[30]

On May 21, Lacalle announced that face-to-face classes would resume on three different dates, depending on the level of education. It was also reported that attendance would be voluntary, he stated "We return to a fundamental aspect of life, which is the future of our children".[31][32]

On May 29, he himself, along with the Secretary of the Presidency, the Minister of National Defense, his private secretary and the ASSE President began a quarantine while awaiting the test, after having contact with the director of the Ministry of Social Development in Rivera, who was infected with COVID-19.[33] A day later, after being tested, it was confirmed that neither he nor the other government officials had contracted the virus.[34]

Personal life

Lacalle Pou, who has played many sports (rugby, soccer, tennis, boxing, etc.) in his youth, now enjoys surfing, a sport he's been practicing since the 1980s.[35] He married Lorena Ponce de León in 2000, in a service conducted by Daniel Sturla in the Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral.[36] Together, they have three children: Luis Alberto, Violeta and Manuel.

See also