chapter
Uruguay 242
ByVenezuela
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Christian-democratic party) resumed, and the parties obtained several important concessions, including the right to engage in political activity. 3 August 1984: Political parties, with the exception of the Partido Nacional, agreed to the Government’s proposals for a transitional set of laws and the formation of a National Security Council. All restrictions on political activity were withdrawn. 25 November 1984: In presidential and legislative elections the Partido Colorado, led by Dr Julio María Sanguinetti Cairolo, secured a narrow victory over the opposition. The Colorado Party won 38.6% of the ballot in the presidential contest, but did not gain an absolute majority of seats in Congress. 11 February 1985: The military regime relinquished power. 1 March 1985: President Sanguinetti was inaugurated, as was a Government of national unity, incorporating representatives of other parties. 14 March 1985: All political prisoners were released under an amnesty law. 1986-88: Numerous strikes were staged by public-sector employees, primarily against government economic policy. 22 December 1986: An amnesty law, the ‘punto final’, was approved, which brought to an end trials of military and police personnel accused of humanrights violations during the military dictatorship. The President was made responsible for any further investigations. February 1987: A campaign was initiated by left-wing parties, trade unions and humanrights groups to organize a petition to force a referendum on the issue of the amnesty law. 16 April 1989: In a referendum, 52.6% of the votes were cast in favour of maintaining the amnesty law. 26 November 1989: In presidential elections, Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera, of the Partido Nacional, won with 37% of the votes cast, while the Partido Colorado candidate, Jorge Batlle Ibáñez received 30%. In congressional elections the Partido Nacional gained the most seats but failed to obtain an overall majority. 1 March 1990: Lacalle was inaugurated as President and announced the conclusion of an agreement, the ‘coincidencia nacional’, between the two principal parties, whereby the Partido Colorado undertook to support proposed legislation on economic reform, in return for the appointment of four of its members to the Council of Ministers. 26 March 1991: The Treaty of Asunción was signed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, committing the four countries to the establishment of a common market, to be known in Portuguese as the Mercado Comum do Sul and in Spanish as the Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosul/Mercosur-the Southern Common Market). May 1991: Former President Sanguinetti, the leader of the Foro Batllista faction of the Partido Colorado, withdrew his support from the Government in protest against proposed privatization legislation, thus forcing the resignation of the Minister of Public Health, the faction’s sole representative in the Council of Ministers. September 1991: Congress narrowly approved privatization legislation. 1992-93: Industrial unrest in the public sector intensified. February 1992: A new Council of Ministers was appointed.