This book analyzes the nature and development of democracy in Uruguay, and reflects upon the future prospects of Uruguayan democracy. It looks above all at political institutions - the electoral system, the party system, and the composition of executive power - and how they have shaped politics in this small nation that for decades stood out as one of the two most established democracies in the Third World. It provides an examination of the 1980s, and gives background information on earlier periods of Uruguayan democracy. Drawing upon several important bodies of literature - electoral data, political parties and party systems, electoral surveys, and the liabilities of presidential systems - the author challenges many of the standard interpretations of Uruguayan politics, namely that the party system is non-ideological and that the two traditional parties have extremely diffuse identities. He shows that while these interpretations were probably correct in the past, they no longer are. Theoretically, this work continues the present emphasis on political factors in understanding the vulnerability of democracy in even the most advanced Latin American countries. This book should appeal to a variety of scholars, especially Latin Americanists and to scholars working on parties, elections, and democracy.