Radical Liberal Party (PLR)

views updated

Radical Liberal Party (PLR)

One of Ecuador's two historic political parties, known officially as the Radical Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Radical—PLR), the Liberal Party was officially organized by Ignacio de Veintimilla in 1878 and convened the first party assembly two years later. First seizing power through the 1895 revolution led by its renowned leader Eloy Alfaro, the PLR remained the dominant force in national politics until 1944, when its last president, Carlos Arroyo Del Río, was ousted. The PLR, originally firmly committed to church-state separation, to public education, and to promotion of external trade and commerce, gradually grew more conservative as these issues became less salient to the nation. During this time the PLR established strong ties with the military and the country's financial sector. Although the PLR's relationship with the military deteriorated in the 1940s, business and financial groups continued to support the party.

In the 1950s, despite their support for the administration of Galo Plaza Lasso, the Liberals progressively declined. The party's last serious bid for national power came in 1968 when its venerable leader, Andrés F. Córdova, ran for the presidency and was narrowly defeated by José María Velasco Ibarra. During the 1970s the PLR was weakened by internal schisms, most notably that of younger militants who founded the Izquierda Democrática (Democratic Left—ID). In 1978 the Liberal old guard made a final electoral effort but was rebuffed. After that time the PLR sought legislative and electoral coalitions with other parties and leaders. Its congressional representation had dropped to three by 1990, and the PLR became irrelevant to national politics as newer parties emerged to engage the electorate.

See alsoEcuador: Since 1830; Veintemilla, José Ignacio de.


George I. Blanksten, Ecuador: Constitutions and Caudillos (1951).

John D. Martz, Ecuador: Conflicting Political Culture and the Quest for Progress (1972).

Additional Bibliography

Bravo, César Augusto. Historia del Ecuador de la década de 1950 a la década de los 70. Cuenca, Ecuador: Editorial Gráficas Hernández, 1995.

Echeverría, Julio. La democracia bloqueada: teoría y crisis del sistema político ecuatoriano. Quito: Letras, 1997.

                                            John D. Martz