The Republic of Uruguay, formerly a part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, and subsequently a province of Brazil, declared its independence August 25, 1825, which was recognised by the Treaty of Montevideo, signed August 27, 1828. The new Constitution of the Republic, adopted in 1919, separated Church and State, introduced universal suffrage, and considerably reduced the powers of the Executive. Voting is secret, and the principle of proportional representation operates. In 1921 the Constitution was amended granting votes to women. The legislative power is vested in a Parliament of two Houses, the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives, which meet in annual session, extending from March 15 to December 15. In the interval of the session, a permanent committee of two senators and five members of the Lower House divides with the President the control of the executive power. The representatives are chosen for three years, in the proportion of 1 to every 12,000 qualified voters, who must be able to read and write, and over 18 years of age. The senators are chosen by an Electoral College, whose members are directly elected by the people; there is one senator for each department, chosen for six years, one-third retiring every two years. There are 124 representatives and 19 senators.
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