• Short Summary

    Political parties in Argentina have recovered their legal right to function.

  • Description

    GV & SVs Supporters putting flowers on Peron memorial. (4 SHOTS) 0.14
    GV & SV (night scenes) Young Peronists demonstrating. (SHOTS) 0.24
    BUENOS AIRES (FILE 1973) (REUTERS) GV & SV Peron and wife Isabella walk onto rostrum, wave to crowd. (3 SHOTS) 0.34
    SV INTERIOR President Peron and wife enters room, sits at desk, speaks. (3 SHOTS) 0.49
    1974: SCU & GV Mrs Isabella Peron mourning beside Peron's body. (2 SHOTS) 1.02

    Background: Political parties in Argentina have recovered their legal right to function. On July 16th, President Reynaldo Bignone signed a law lifting restrictions on political activity that have been in force since the military took control more than six years ago. On the day he took office, President Bignone undertook to return Argentina to democratic civilian government by March 1984.

    SYNOPSIS: The following day, July 1st, was the eighth anniversary of the death of Juan Domingo Peron. The memories of older members of the Peronist movement go back to his first presidency - ended by a military coup in 1955. Some of the younger generation can barely remember his brief comeback eight years ago. Yet his name inspires Argentina's largest political group.

    Peron returned from almost twenty years of exile in 1973 - to become president for the second time, with his wife, Isabel. as his vice-president. The Peronist legend, that brought his unexpected election victory, survived a year of office that added little of substance to his reputation. He was 77 and in poor health. When he died, on July 1st 1974, his widow became Argentina's and the world's first woman president. She had been a dancer before she married Peron as his third wife. Her political experience was negligible.

    The eighteen months of her Presidency were a time of increasing violence and mounting inflation. Finally the military took over, and put her under house arrest. Eva Peron - " Evita", Peron's second wife, was the real idol of the movement. Before she died in 1952, she had built a following among los descamisados - the shirtless ones - that the Peronists have never lost. Her memory is still honoured, thirty years after her death.

    Popular demand mounted for the release of Senora Isabel Peron from detention - although at the time, in June of last year, street demonstrations were illegal. She bore the name that still had power to rouse the enthusiasm of thousands of Argentines. Political experts believe that the Peronists would win 40 to 20 per cent of the vote if elections were held there now - though the movement is split, and only one faction directly supports Mrs Peron personally. She was released last July, and now lives in exile in Spain.

    Arturo Illia, now 81, was president for three years in the 1960s. He is a member of the Radical Party - the second largest political grouping in Argentina. The Radical leader Juan Carlos Pugliese, presented a document called "Before It Is Too Late" to a rally of five major parties in December last year - and the leaders of all five were there to endorse the programme. The document called for the removal of all restrictions on political and trade union activities, free elections and full respect for human rights. The demand for the restoration of the democratic process was building up in Argentina before the Falklands crisis and the fall of General Galtieri.

    The five-party Multipartidaria also includes the Christian Democrats, the Movement for Integration and Development, and, on the left, the Intransigent Party. It is completed by the Justicialist Liberation Front, under the leadership of Deolindo Bittel. This is the formal name of the party that perpetuates the programme of popular nationalism and social welfare still associated with the name of Peron.

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    File reuters - Can Sell
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    Available on request
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