José Batlle y Ordóñez
Uruguayan statesman. He was President of Uruguay (1903–07; 1911–15) and initiated legislation to increase public welfare. He believed that the Swiss Bundesrat or federal council was well suited to his own country's needs and during his second term he tried to have the office of president eliminated altogether. His political opponents compromised by agreeing to an executive branch in which power was shared between a president and a nine-man council. This decentralization of power placed Uruguay on a unique path in the 20th century.