Batlle Berres, Luis Conrado (1897–1964)

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Batlle Berres, Luis Conrado (1897–1964)

Luis Conrado Batlle Berres (b. 1897; d. July 1964), president of Uruguay (1947–1951). Luis Batlle Berres was the nephew of the great leader of the Colorado Party and founder of modern Uruguay, José Batlle y Ordóñez. He began his political career in the 1920s as a deputy in Congress for Montevideo. Elected vice president in 1946, he succeeded to the presidency upon the death of Tomás Berreta. Smart and ambitious, "Lusito," as he was known, found himself constrained by the Batllist faithful, the adoring but increasingly conservative followers of José Batlle led by his sons Lorenzo and César. In 1948 Batlle Berres had signaled his independence by starting his own newspaper, Acción, as a voice separate from El Día, the Colorado newspaper founded by José Batlle and run by his sons. He thus distanced his own political movement, List 15, from his cousins' List 14. His faction proved to be dominant within the party in the 1950 elections.

Batlle Berres favored the continuation of a presidential system, even in the face of an almost religious demand by the Batllist faithful to create a Colegiado (collegial executive system). Batlle Berres's urban populist coalition had swept his faction to such a convincing victory in 1950 that the Blanco (National Party) leader, Luis Alberto de Herrera, was willing to join with Lorenzo and César in support of a collegial executive in order to prevent a new political dynasty. Unable to withstand the List 14 and Herrerist calls for constitutional reform, Batlle Berres supported the 1951 plebiscite that gave Uruguay a collegial executive system under the new 1952 Constitution. Nevertheless, Batlle Berres's List 15 continued to dominate Colorado voting, giving him the most powerful voice in Uruguayan politics through the mid-1950s. Following his death, the leadership of List 15 passed to his son Jorge Batlle, and this sector of the party became known as Radical Batllism.

See alsoBatllismo; Uruguay, Political Parties: Colorado Party.


Philip R. Taylor, Jr., Government and Politics of Uruguay (1960).

Santiago Rompani, ed., Luis Batlle: Pensamiento y acción, 2 vols. (1965).

Martin Weinstein, Uruguay: The Politics of Failure (1975).

                                      Martin Weinstein