Published 10th October, 2014
The National Party or PN is also known as the Blancos from the white flag of one of the factions in the 1836-48 civil war although the party itself was founded in 1836. The party describes itself as right-wing although others have described it as centrist. Being made up of several organised factions allows the interpretation to be made. Ideologically it believes in Uruguayan nationalism, Herrerism and Conservatism. Herrerism is based upon its twentieth century leader Luis Alberto de Herrera who believed in a traditionalist approach and was an advocate of Americanism.
The National Party bases its support on the rural areas and during much of the 19th Century was in opposition to the other major traditional party, the Colorados. The National Party held the Presidency of the country six times between the end of the “Great War” in 1852 and 1865. After that they would not hold the Presidency again until 1959.
In the 1958 general election the National Party won six of the nine seats of the National Council of Government (NCG), 51 seats in the 99 seat Chamber of Deputies and 17 seats in the 31 seat Senate. They won again in 1962 but when a Presidential system was restored in 1966 they lost to the Colorados.
The National Party would not win again until 1989 although it should be noted that there had been a military dictatorship in power from 1972 until 1984. Luis Alberto Lacalle won the 1989 Presidential election with 37.25% of the vote and the party took 39 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 12 seats in the Senate. In 1994 the Blancos lost the election and have not succeeded in winning power again to date. They had their worst election result in 1999 when they dropped to 22 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and seven seats in the Senate.
Since then they have taken 34 seats in 2004 and 30 seats in 2009 in the Chamber of Deputies and ten Senate seats in 2004, dropping one Senate seat in 2009. They have remained the official opposition to the Broad Front since 2004.
The National Party is a member of the Union of Latin American Parties (UPLA), the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean (COPPPAL) and is an Observer member of the Christian Democrat Organization of America (ODCA).