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Election Day Referendum To Decide Uruguay’s "Age of Criminal Responsibility"

ISSN:1060-4189
LADB Article ID: 79315
Category/Department: Uruguay
Date: 2014-05-23
By: Andrés Gaudín

When Uruguayans head to the polls this October to choose the country’s next president, they will also vote in a constitutional referendum on whether to lower the age of criminal responsibility. The referendum stems from a proposal put forth by the right-wing leaders of Uruguay’s two oldest political parties—Pedro Bordaberry of the Partido Colorado (PC) and Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou of the Partido Nacional (PN or Blanco)—who are hoping to lower from 18 to 16 the age at which a suspected criminal can be prosecuted as an adult. Three years ago, when the idea was first presented, more than 70% of the population supported the change. More recently, the numbers have dipped, presumably because of pressure from the "No a la Baja" campaign that opposes the initiative. Poll results released earlier this month measured support for the reform at 57%, down from 67% in February. Still, if the election were today, the "yes" option—those who want the age lowered—would likely prevail.

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