Argentina's Political Instability

September 27, 1972

Report Outline
Polical turmoil and impending election
Developent of the Argentine Nation
Prospects for Recovery and Stability
Special Focus

Polical turmoil and impending election

Peron's Election Role and Possible Return Home

Argentina's military government has scheduled nationwide congressional and presidential elections for March 25, 1973. If the elections are held, the nation will return to civilian rule for the first time since a military junta ousted civilian President Arturo Illia on June 28, 1966. Since then, three different generals have held the presidential chair in the Casa Rosada, Argentina's equivalent of the White House. The nation is wracked by political dissent, terrorism, rioting and bickering within the military establishment. It faces the most serious economic crisis in recent years. Inflation is rampant. A huge balance of payments deficit is eroding the country's slim international reserves. In such circumstances, some observers question whether the generals can manage a free and fair election without total disruption of Argentina's economic and political processes.

There is as yet no clear indication what political lineup will emerge, or, indeed who will be the candidates for the presidency. Gen. Alejandro Lanusse, 53, head of the current government, has surprised the nation by saying he will not run. Juan Domingo Peron, the exiled dictator, insists he is a candidate even though he did not return from Spain to establish an Argentine residence by Aug. 25, the deadline set by the Lanusse government.

Peron had declared in Madrid on July 22 that for “security reasons” he would not observe the deadline requirement, which he said was unconstitutional. He added that he remained the presidential candidate of the Justicialista party, which had nominated him, and would conduct his campaign from Spain. But since then there have been reports that the former leader would return to Argentina in October or by the end of the year, or possibly he would come only as far as neighboring Uruguay. October—especially Oct. 17—holds special significance for Peron's followers. Their street demonstrations won his release from jail on that day in 1945 and propelled him toward the presidency.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Sep. 27, 1972  Argentina's Political Instability
May 15, 1963  Argentina and Peronism
Jan. 07, 1944  Argentina and the United States
Jan. 08, 1929  Trade Relations of the United States with Argentina
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean