By Marcelo Cavarozzi


From the Introduction

One of the consequences of the intensifying of authoritarianism from the mid-1960s onwards was that both reversions to a party-controlled democratic government were made against the will of the military, rather than under its protective tutelage. Hence, the installation of civilian regimes in 1973 and 1983 were the culminations of open confrontations between the collapsing military regimes and the oppositions of the time. The confrontational style of politics that prevailed during the transitions could have hardly been avoided. Although each one of the last presidents of both dictatorships, General Lanusse and Bignone respectively had been explicity appointed to administer the liquidation of military rule, the armed forces made last-minute efforts to determine who their successors would be, or at least to impose restrictions upon them. Although the military failed to achieve those objectives, military intransigence acted as a catalyst for significant changes in the patterns of relationship between Peronists and Radicals. In 1970 the two largest parties signed a pact, La Hora del Pueblo, whereby they reversed the antagonism that had made them irreconcilable opponents since the mid-1940s. In the early 1980s, in turn, the overwhelming electoral supremacy which Peronism had enjoyed over the Radical party since its creation finally came to an end with the victory of Alfonsin at the polls in October 1983.

Actually, Peronism and the Uni6n Civica Radical were respectively the central protagonists of each of the two transitions. Thus, Cavarozzi analyzes the characteristics of the two parties, paying special attention to the roles they played in 1973, in the case of Peronism, and in 1983, in the case of the Radical party. In doing so, he underscores the basic features and modes of action of the two parties.