Luis Lacalle Pou
Luis Lacalle Pou
|42nd President of Uruguay|
|Assumed office |
1 March 2020
|Vice President||Beatriz Argimón|
|Preceded by||Tabaré Vázquez|
|Senator of the Republic|
15 February 2015 – 12 August 2019
|President of the Chamber of Representatives|
1 March 2011 – 1 March 2012
|Preceded by||Ivonne Passada|
|Succeeded by||Jorge Orrico|
15 February 2000 – 15 February 2015
Luis Alberto Aparicio Alejandro Lacalle Pou
10 August 1973
|Political party||National Party|
|Parent(s)||Luis Alberto Lacalle|
|Residence(s)||Residencia de Suarez|
|Education||The British Schools|
|Alma mater||Catholic University of Uruguay|
Luis Alberto Aparicio Alejandro Lacalle Pou (Spanish pronunciation: [lwiz laˈkaʝe pow]; Luis Lacalle locally [lwiɦ laˈkaʒe] or [lwiɦ laˈkaʃe]; [a] born 10 August 1973) is a Uruguayan politician and lawyer serving as President of Uruguay since 1 March 2020.
Son of former president Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera, Lacalle Pou attended The British Schools of Montevideo and graduated from Catholic University of Uruguay in 1998 with a law degree. A member of the National Party, he was first elected to the Chamber of Representatives at the 1999 election as a National Representative for the Canelones Department, a position he held from 2000 to 2015. During the first session of the 47th Legislature (2011-2012) he chaired the lower house of the General Assembly. He also served as Senator from 2015 to 2019. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2014. Five years later, he defeated the Broad Front nominee Daniel Martínez in the 2019 general election and was elected President of Uruguay with 50.79% of the vote in the second round. At the age of 46, Lacalle Pou ended the 15-year leftist rule in the country and became the youngest president since the end of the dictatorship in 1985.
Luis Alberto Aparicio Alejandro Lacalle Pou was born on 10 August 1973 in Montevideo. He is the son of former president Luis Alberto Lacalle and former first lady and senator Julia Pou. He has two siblings, Pilar and Juan José, and is the great-grandson of Luis Alberto de Herrera, on his paternal side.
He lived in the barrio Pocitos during childhood and adolescence. When his father took office as president in 1990, his family moved to the Suárez presidential residence in barrio Prado. He was educated at The British Schools of Montevideo. As his final years at the school coincided with his father's elevation to the presidency, a guard was posted at the school gates while he and his younger brother attended class. Resisting official protocol to be taken to school in a car by government escort, he instead preferred to drive himself in an old family vehicle. In 1993 he enrolled at the Catholic University of Uruguay to study law, graduating in 1998.
In the 1999 general elections, he was elected representative for Canelones, serving the 2000–2005 term. He was re-elected in 2004 under the herrerismo faction of the National Party, a movement founded by his great-grandfather, Luis Alberto de Herrera. In the 2009 general elections, he was elected for a third consecutive time and served until 2015.
As leader of the opposition, he opposes the most emblematic laws of the left-wing governments (legalization of abortion, recognition of gay marriage, law on the workday of agricultural workers, laws in favor of domestic workers, etc.). He defines himself as very religious, which is why he emphasizes his commitment against abortion.
Lacalle Pou is the leader of the political lists 404 (Montevideo) and 400 (Canelones).
On 30 March 2014, Lacalle Pou launched his bid for the presidency. On 1 June 2014 he was nominated as candidate of his party for the presidential elections in October, in which he was elected Senator of the Republic. He was defeated on the second round of presidential election on 30 November 2014.
In the 2019 presidential primaries, Lacalle Pou competed against Enrique Antía, Carlos Iafigliola, again Jorge Larrañaga and against the new candidate Juan Sartori, with whom he maintained a tense relationship. Lacalle Pou accused him of spreading fake news, some of these cases were brought to justice. Lacalle Pou won by 53% of the votes, enough to announce Beatriz Argimón the same night of 30 June as a vice president candidate.
In the first round of the 2019 general election, held on Sunday, 27 October 2019, he obtained second place with 28.62% of the votes. As no presidential candidate received a majority of voting, a runoff election took place on 24 November. In the runoff, Luis Lacalle Pou garnered 48.71% of the unofficial vote. His opponent, Broad Front candidate and former intendant of Montevideo, Daniel Martínez obtained 47.51% of the vote. The Electoral Court of Uruguay would publish the official results by Friday, 29 November 2019, as observed votes were still to be counted, totaling more than the difference between the two candidates, thus being too close to call. Daniel Martinez did not concede the race then, awaiting the official count. Lacalle Pou unofficially declared himself the winner, as the votes already counted marked an irreversible trend. Martínez conceded defeat on 28 November 2019. On 30 November, final votes counts confirmed Lacalle Pou as the winner with 48.8% of the total votes cast over Martínez with 47.3%. He was the first National/Blanco candidate to win the presidency since his father left office in 1995. His election also marked only the fourth time in 154 years that the Blancos had been elected to lead the government.
President of Uruguay
|Presidential styles of|
Luis Lacalle Pou
|Reference style||Señor Presidente. |
|Alternative style||Presidente de la República. |
"President of the Republic"
Lacalle took office on 1 March 2020. After the constitutional oath before the General Assembly, he paraded down with Vice President Beatriz Argimón along Libertador Avenue in a 1937 Ford V8 convertible that belonged to his great-grandfather, Luis Alberto de Herrera. The parade ended in Plaza Independencia, where he received the presidential sash from the outgoing President Tabaré Vázquez.
With a coalition of five parties, ranging from the centre-right to the extreme right, he intends to pursue a policy of austerity. During his campaign, he promised to cut government spending in order to reduce the public deficit. Claiming to be a liberal, he declared that he wanted to favour business leaders in the face of "tax pressure". He proposed before his inauguration to establish an attractive tax policy to attract wealthy foreigners. The left-wing party Frente Amplio deplores initiatives that could lead to a "setback" for the country, which risks becoming a "tax haven" again, as it was in the past.
Lacalle had announced during his electoral campaign the introduction of a package of government measures through an urgent consideration law, a prerogative of the Executive Power in Uruguay that allows it to send to the General Assembly a bill with a peremptory term of 90 days, expired which is approved in the affirmative form if the General Assembly is not issued to the contrary. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic delayed the presentation of the bill, which finally formally entered the Parliament on 23 April 2020.
Lacalle announced his cabinet on 16 December 2019, which is formed by an electoral alliance, the Coalición Multicolor, which is made up of the National Party, the Colorado Party, Open Cabildo, the Independent Party and the Party of the People. He declared that it was going to be a "government of action", and that he wanted to form a "government that talks a lot with the people".
During Lacalle Pou's first days of presidency, Uruguay's foreign relations shifted substantially from those under Broad Front. After taking office, he condemned the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. And also Lacalle decided not to invite him to his inauguration stating "it is a personal decision, which I take care of. This is not the Chancellery, this is not protocol, this is my person who made this decision". The presidents of Cuba and Nicaragua were not invited either. However, the Lacalle government refused to recognize Guaidó as legitimate President of Venezuela and instead recognized him as President of the National Assembly stating that recognizing Guaidó at the same time that Maduro is in power is a "step that for now we cannot take." In January 2021, the Lacalle government refused to recognize the new National Assembly, and stated that the Maduro's "dictatorial regime" violates the "rule of law."
Lacalle's government ordered the withdrawal of Uruguay from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), arguing that it occurred because "it is an organization that became an ideological political alliance contrary to the country's objectives of linking." In addition, it was reported that the country would return to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) and that the government would support Luis Almagro in a re-election to the post of president of the Organization of American States. Lacalle has been in favor of a relaxation of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) rules, such as the common external tariff. He has also proposed to deepen the free trade zone.
The COVID-19 pandemic emerged within the first days of Lacalle Pou's presidency. The first four cases, all imported, were reported on 13 March. On 14 March, Lacalle requested the cancellation of public performances, and the closure of some public places. An awareness campaign was launched and citizens were advised to stay home. A two-week suspension of classes at public and private schools was also announced. On 16 March, Lacalle issued an order to close all border crossings except Carrasco International Airport. The border with Argentina was closed effective 17 March at midnight.
Lacalle refused to implement the lockdown, appealing for "individual freedom". On 8 April, he announced the reopening of rural schools on 22 April. It was also reported that the reopening would be in educational centers in the interior of the country, excluding those of Montevideo and Canelones; and that attendance would be voluntary. It was 35% of the total registered. On April, 17 he informed that his administration decided to create a group, made up of experts that would define methods and studies to advise the government. The experts would be: the mathematician, electrical engineer, and academic from the Latin American Academy of Sciences, Fernando Paganini; Dr. Rafael Radi, the first Uruguayan scientist at the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and president of the National Academy of Sciences of Uruguay; and Dr. Henry Cohen, President of the National Academy of Medicine and awarded as a Master by the World Gastroenterology Organisation in 2019.
On 21 May, Lacalle announced that face-to-face classes would resume on three different dates, depending on the level of education. It was also reported that attendance would be voluntary, he stated "We return to a fundamental aspect of life, which is the future of our children".
On 29 May, he himself, along with the Secretary of the Presidency, the Minister of National Defense, his private secretary and the ASSE President began a quarantine while awaiting the test, after having contact with the director of the Ministry of Social Development in Rivera, who was infected with COVID-19. A day later, after being tested, it was confirmed that neither he nor the other government officials had contracted the virus.
Promoted by the national trade union center PIT-CNT and the opposition party Broad Front, in March 2022 a referendum was held to ask the electorate if 135 articles of Law 19,889 (known as the "Urgent Consideration Law", or simply "LUC") – approved by the General Assembly in 2020 and considered as the main legislative initiative of the Lacalle administration — should be repealed.
After his election as President, the LUC underwent subsequent modifications as a result of the negotiation between the different members of the electoral alliance Coalición Multicolor and the final version was presented to the Parliament on 9 April, with 502 articles. The bill was approved by Parliament on July 8, 2020 and promulgated by the Executive Branch on July 9.
Lacalle Pou, who has played many sports (rugby, soccer, tennis, boxing, etc.) in his youth, now enjoys surfing, a sport he has been practicing since the 1980s. He married Lorena Ponce de León in 2000, in a service conducted by Daniel Sturla in the Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral. Together, they have three children: Luis Alberto, Violeta and Manuel. In May of 2022 the couple announced their separation and plans to get divorced.  
- In isolation, Luis is pronounced [lwis].
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