Conservative President Luis Lacalle Pou is pushing through his reform. The police and military are given more rights. There is praise for his corona policy.
“I need this instrument to govern.” Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou has repeated this demand almost daily since taking office on March 1. He means a reform package with which the conservative wants to put the country on the right course after 15 years of left politics. It was passed by Congress last week, and the President enacted it on Friday. The right to strike and to demonstrate have been tightened.
From now on, non-strikers have right of access to their workplaces and company management to their companies. Protests with blockades have been banned and the police are allowed to resolve them. Up to 18 months’ imprisonment can be punished for “anyone who hampers, insults, hurts, throws objects at or threatens the police”. The right of self-defense of police officers and the military has been expanded. It is feared that shooting will be faster.
There is no change of direction in economic policy. Uruguay was already open to the world market before Lacalle Pou. Free trade zones have long existed and the liberal financial system is a consensus. In the future, wages can also be paid in cash and larger financial transactions can be processed in cash. Control over origin and cash flow is broken. Unions warn of an increase in informal employment. Only the establishment of the new Ministry of the Environment received broad approval in Congress. The entire package, on the other hand, only got the votes of the right-wing coalition majority.
476 articles include the so-called Ley de Urgente Consideración. Lacalle Pou had submitted it to Congress on April 23 in an urgent constitutional procedure. MEPs had 90 days to make changes. After that, everything would have come into force without a vote. With the express procedure, the president disciplined the members of his coalition from five right-wing conservatives, far-right and small liberal parties and prevented delays of the left-wing opposition Frente Amplio (FA). “At least we managed to make this extremely bad project less bad,” said FA Senator Mario Bergara.
The 46-year-old president is currently enjoying broad support. When the first corona cases were discovered in the country on March 13, he immediately declared a health emergency, closed borders and schools, and banned major events. Instead of obligatory quarantine, he asked to stay at home voluntarily. The population moved in, and approval of the measures reached up to 90 percent.
“Uruguay is the only country in South America whose incidence rate has been falling regularly in recent weeks,” praises the Pan-American health organization. So far there have been 985 infections and 30 deaths. Uruguay has a pretty good health system. The fact that it was not saved is thanks to the previous governments on the left.