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Uruguayans Abroad Seek Voting Rights

LADB Article ID: 80242
Category/Department: Uruguay
Date: 2017-03-17
By: Andrés Gaudín

A poll taken in late December revealed that six out of every 10 Uruguayans support the right to vote and to be elected to any post, even president, for fellow citizens who live abroad. The issue of voting from abroad has been a topic of debate––so far always on the losing side––ever since Uruguay returned to democracy after the civil-military dictatorship of 1973-1985. The debate gained greater urgency in 2005, when the progressive Frente Amplio first attained power. But the proposal failed when Congress attempted to reform the Constitution, and again when a plebiscite was held coinciding with the 2009 presidential election. Now, pressure from organizations of Uruguayans living abroad for political or economic reasons has put the issue of voting rights on the agenda again, with political commentators pointing out that Uruguay is the only South American nation that doesn’t give this basic civic right to its children of the diaspora. Congress has had a reform project under consideration since 2014. In August 2016, the Council of Ministers approved a framework document on migratory policy that spotlighted that “the exercise of political and citizen rights and the broadening of political participations are fundamental for the integration for emigrated fellow citizens and the reinforcement of their ties to the country,” a concept taken nearly word for word from documents written by collectives of Uruguayans abroad.

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