Baldomir and the End of Dictatorship
After his inauguration, and after suppressing a coup
Baldomir announced his intention to reform the 1934
but then procrastinated on carrying out the project.
months later, the opposition led one of the most important
political demonstrations in the history of the country,
a new constitution and a return to democracy. Under
organized labor and the National Party, Baldomir advocated
elections, freedom of the press, and a new constitution.
Baldomir's administration could not avoid the
World War II or the pressures and interests of the Allied
Although he declared Uruguay's neutrality in 1939, that
the Battle of the Río de la Plata took place. The badly
German battleship Graf Spee, cornered by a British
force and required by the Uruguayan government to leave
refuge in the port of Montevideo, was blown up and
its own crew just outside the harbor. After this, Uruguay
a pro-Allied stance. In 1940 it began an investigation of
sympathizers and finally, in 1942, broke relations with
The Blancos persistently attempted to obstruct
introduced by Baldomir and criticized the Colorados'
cooperation with the United States in hemispheric defense.
Baldomir's Blanco ally, Herrera, fought for neutrality,
1940 Herrera opposed the installation of United States
Uruguay. In 1941 Baldomir forced his three Herrerist
resign; they had been appointed to his cabinet in
provisions of the 1934 constitution. Baldomir subsequently
appointed a board, without the participation of
study a constitutional reform. Finally, in February 1942
dissolved the General Assembly and replaced it with the
of State (Consejo de Estado), composed of Batllists and
Colorados. This quasi-coup was carried out without
deportations, or the closing of newspapers. It was an
agreement to overcome the institutional crisis initiated
31, 1933, and to avoid enforcement of the existing
Batllists and Communists welcomed the new situation, but
Socialists argued that Baldomir had been one of the
of the 1933 coup. Independent Nationalists remained on the
sidelines. Herrerism, freely accused of being pro-Nazi,
proFranco , and pro-Argentine, was the big loser.
In November 1942, national elections were held.
electoral law had been passed in 1939 to avoid the
coalitions that would endanger the two-party system
Colorados), Independent Nationalists were allowed to
as a new political party, separate from Herrerism. Thus,
National Party divided into two splinter parties and
such until 1958. Socialists and Communists were also
situation that continued until 1971, when the Broad Front
Coalition was created. Batllists supported the Colorado
candidate, Juan José Amézaga (1943-47), who won the
At the same time, a new constitution was submitted to
plebiscite and was approved by 77 percent of the
amended on November 19, 1942, the constitution retained
presidency, restored the General Assembly, implemented
proportional representation in the Senate, and abolished
mandatory coparticipation imposed by the 1934 constitution
ministries and boards of autonomous entities.
Data as of December 1990