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Juan Abal Medina, "The Rise and Fall of the Argentine Centre-Left: The Crisis of Frente Grande," Party Politics, 15 (May 2009), 357-375.

First paragraph:
The history of Argentina's parties is complex, reflecting the impact of alternating cycles of military and civilian rule (O'Donnell, 1979: 121). During the twentieth century and prior to 1983, Argentina had only three periods with minimum conditions for democratic rule, or - as defined by Dahl - polyarchy (1971). Free elections with universal suffrage1 were held only between 1916 and 1930, 1946 and 1955, and 1973 and 1976. In all, less than half the twentieth century was characterized by free and democratic regimes, as compared to more than half a century of an assortment of nondemocratic regimes, ranging from diverse forms of restricted democracy, competitive oligarchy, bureaucratic authoritarianism to the final plunge into state terror (Abal Medina and Suárez Cao, 2002).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Which leader represents you? (Asked to members of the FG National Congress)
Table 2. Ideological placement
Table 3. FG in all provinces
Table 4. Perceived ideological locations of FG
Table 5. Electoral results of the FG (1991-99)

First Paragraph of Conclusion:
The type of leadership and the lack of institutionalization and solid discourse were two key factors behind the FG crisis. However, a third and very significant cause was its strategy of forced growth. In his attempt to build the party, Álvarez overlooked its limitations and pushed it beyond its possibilities. This strategy was extremely successful, considering that a small political group from Buenos Aires City came to lead in the polls and caused, for the first time in Argentina's history, the defeat of a Peronist administration11 - all in less than seven years.

Last updated April 2009