1920 Argentine legislative election

The Argentine legislative elections of 1920 were held on 7 March. Voters chose their legislators and numerous governors, and with a turnout of 53.0%, it produced the following results:

Argentine Chamber of Deputies

Party/Electoral Alliance Seats Change Votes %
Radical Civic Union (UCR) 84 28 328,723 44.4%
Democratic Progressive 19 5 76,900 10.1%
Conservative 14 5 104,569 13.7%
Socialist 10 4 85,693 11.2%
Liberal Party of Corrientes 4 1 29,186 3.8%
Provincial Union
(Salta Province)
3 1 8,092 1.1%
Autonomist Party of Corrientes 3 = 5,551 0.7%
Situationist UCR
(Mendoza Province)
2 2 9,320 1.2%
Civic Concentration
(San Juan Province)
2 2 7,575 1.0%
Others 14 87,716 11.5%
Invalid votes 3a 18,790 2.5%
Total 158 38 762,115 100.0%


Notes: a) Seats left vacant.


A strong economy and a vigorous social policy helped make 1920 a banner year for President Hipólito Yrigoyen, whose UCR won 61 of the 102 seats at stake in the Lower House of Congress.[3]

The party emerged victorious in the City of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, La Rioja, Santiago del Estero, and even in districts which had hitherto been dominated by either opposition parties (such as Buenos Aires Province and Tucumán), or dissident factions of the UCR (as in the case of Santa Fe).[3] The party effectively displaced both the Socialist and Democratic Progressive parties in the highly competitive Buenos Aires district by supporting labor rights and advancing programs such as the National Inexpensive Housing Commission (CNCB), which added thousands of units to the capital's perennially strained housing supply.[4] The addition of 38 seats to the Chamber of Deputies, partly as a result of the 1914 Census, further enhanced the UCR's sweep, and for the first time, gave them an absolute majority in the Lower House.

Socialists made modest gains in Congress, and won control of local governments in Zárate and Mar del Plata (the first in Argentina). The Democratic Progressive Party, organized by reformist Congressman Lisandro de la Torre from his Southern League in 1914, continued to make gains, and triumphed in Córdoba Province (though not in Santa Fe, de la Torre's home province). They displaced their former allies, the Conservatives (a holdover from the landowner-controlled National Autonomist Party, which was in power from 1874 to 1916), as the largest party in the minority. Conservatives continued to dominate the Senate, however, and much of Yrigoyen's legislation - notably the establishment of a national merchant marine - continued to encounter long delays. Nor had Yrigoyen been persuasive among the nation's governors, and at the time of the March 1920 elections, fully 14 had been replaced by presidentially-decreed federal intervention.

The removal of Governors by presidential decree had, by itself, helped discourage the establishment of dissident UCR factions, of which there were no fewer than five prior to the election; these elections left only Mendoza Province with a dissident UCR majority delegation. The most prominent such faction, that was led by Santa Fe Governor Rodolfo Lehmann and 8 Congressmen at its height, was weakened by his resignation at the end of 1919, and presented no candidates in 1920. The reformist governor's struggle with the La Forestal logging company, whose striking workers were brutally repressed by both company heavies and national troops, was more to blame for his departure than were differences with President Yrigoyen, and illustrated the limits of the era of pluralist government that began in 1916.[5][6]


  1. Ministerio del Interior: Historia Electoral Argentina (in Spanish)
  2. Nohlen, Dieter. Elections in the Americas : a data handbook. Oxford University Press, 2005.
  3. Nómina de diputados de la nacion por distrito electoral: periodo 1854-1991. Buenos Aires: Cámara de Diputados de la Nación, Secretaría Parlamentaria, Dirección de Archivo, Publicaciones y Museo, Subdirección de Publicaciones e Investigaciones Históricas, 1991.
  4. Todo Argentina: 1920 (in Spanish)
  5. Gianello, Leoncio. Historia de Santa Fe. Buenos Aires: Editorial Plus Ultra, 1978.
  6. Rock, David. Argentina: 1516-1982. University of California Press, 1987.
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