Balbín, Ricardo (1904–1981)

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Balbín, Ricardo (1904–1981)

Ricardo Balbín (b. 29 July 1904; d. 9 September 1981), Argentine political leader and one of the principal Radical Party figures in the postwar period. Originally from Buenos Aires, Balbín was elected in 1930 as a Radical congressman from La Plata but was unable to serve because of the military coup of that same year. He was one of the leading intransigentes (Intransigent Radicals) who, with Arturo Frondizi, was cofounder of the Movimiento de Intransigencia y Renovación (MIR) in 1945. With Frondizi, Balbín (as party whip) led the Radicals in the Argentine congress under Juan Perón until 1949, when the government began a campaign against him, which led to his forced resignation as congressman and imprisonment. In the 1951 election, he was the unsuccessful Radical presidential candidate against Perón.

Balbín broke with Frondizi and the intransigentes after Perón's ouster and in 1956 established the Radical Civic Union of the People (UCRP), a more conservative and decidedly anti-Peronist party, which nominated him in the election won by Frondizi in 1958. With the demise of the intransigentes, Balbín emerged as the principal leader of the Radical Party and was one of the country's most important political figures until his death. In 1970 he led his party in a broad civilian front, La Hora del Pueblo (The People's Turn), working on behalf of the restoration of civilian rule, and was again defeated in his bid for the presidency in the 1973 elections.

In the wake of the electoral defeat, a left-wing faction within the party, the Movimiento de Renovación y Cambio, led by Raúl Alfonsín, emerged to challenge his leadership, critical of both his backroom-style politics and conservative program. Following the 1976 coup, he was an outspoken critic of the military government and twice imprisoned.

See alsoArgentina, Political Parties: Radical Party (UCR) .


Gabriel Del Mazzo, El radicalismo: Notas sobre su historia y su doctrina, vol. 3 (1959).

Marcelo Luis Acuña, De Frondizi a Alfonsín: La tradición política del radicalismo, vol. 2 (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Arrondo, César A. Balbín entre rejas: La prisión de Ricardo Balbín en 1950. Buenos Aires, Editorial de la Univers-dad de La Plata, 2002.

Pignatelli, Adrián. Ricardo Balbín, el presidente postergado. Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1992.

                                   James P. Brennan