This article "revisits" the old Uruguayan party democracy - the eldest and one of the few in Latin America-reviewing wellknown contributions as well as my own proposals, to point out persistence and changes during the last century. Trying to avoid "exceptionalism", the text interweaves comparative references, which provide a framework for the originality of the Uruguayan case and make it possible to further highlight its potential for Comparative Politics. The first part reviews the genetic model and the typical features of the Uruguayan regime, explaining its comparative advantages: the historical background and the polyarchy origins, pluralist presidentialism, and a sui generis consociational democracy, made up by political parties and not of social cleavages. The second part deals with the great transformation following the democratic transition of the 1980, arising from the changes in the party system, which do not prompt its breakdown but instead reshape its plural and competitive structure. This section reviews the liberal transition of the 1990 and the 1996 constitutional reform, the decline of the traditional two-party system and the Frente Amplio's development into a predominant party, including its debut with a social democratic government, which echoes the "late" social democracies in Southern Europe. Through all this, the renewed Uruguayan party democracy which at the time could not avoid the dictatorship 1973-1984 - continues to make a difference and at the end of a long and gradual process, forges a new political norm.
Uruguay; party democracy; party system; political history