Radical Civic Union

Published 19th September, 2011

The Radical Civic Union or UCR is the oldest political party in Argentina and it remains a major force in the politics of the country. It was founded in 1890 by Leandro N. Alem when a radical faction split away from the Civic Union. It describes its position as centre left and ideology as radical, social democratic and progressive.

The party won its first election in 1916 when Hipólito Yrigoyen became president. The UCR was the ruling party for 14 years until a coup in 1930 during a period of major economic turmoil brought on by the Great Depression.

The party then spent the following years in opposition until 1958 when a faction of the party, the Intransigent Radical Civic Union returned to power. Another coup ousted the government in 1962, but another faction of the party, the People’s Radical Civic Union was briefly in power from 1963 until 1966 when there was another coup.

Between 1966 and 1976 the party was in second place and then in 1976 a military coup brought in a junta which lasted until 1983.

In 1983 the party’s presidential candidate, Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín, was elected with 51.8% of the vote. In legislative elections they won in 1985 and 1987 taking 130 and 117 seats respectively of the 257 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

In 1989 the party came second to the Justicialist Party (JP) and remained in second place until 1997. In that year they contested the elections in coalition with the Front for a Country in Solidarity (FREPASO) and led to the election of their presidential candidate Fernando de la Rúa.

By 2001 the UCR was back in opposition and has declined somewhat since then, doing badly in 2005, dropping back further in 2007 and winning just four of 127 seats in the 257 seat Chamber of Deputies in 2009.

The Radical Civic Union is a member of Socialist International.

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