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April 12, 1931. The results of municipal elections in Spain caused the exile of Alfonso XIII and the subsequent proclamation of the Second Republic. So this historic day was lived.
If Salvador Martí, Ernesto Jimenez and Irene Larra today organized a mission to a new chapter of The Ministry of Time , could well travel to a Sunday like this 84 years ago. On April 12, 1931, Spain held an unpublished municipal elections. Their results marked a turning point in the country’s history, which eventually would lead to the proclamation of the Second Republic
said Ortega y Gasset “ to define a time is not enough to know what it was made; it is necessary also to know what not, so it is impossible “. Crossing the Portal of Time April 1931 involves looking back to a complex era, marked by the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera supported by King Alfonso XIII. Did you have these elections actually plebiscitary character? How could municipal elections cause such a radical policy shift?
The end of the “dictatorship with king”
To understand what happened on April 12, 1931, we travel a gate of the auxiliary time, pointing January 28, 1930. The also known as “King dictatorship” had not only dissolved the Parliament, banned the use of other languages other than Castilian or restricted political freedoms and tax the censorship. He had also been responsible for the dismissal of Miguel de Unamuno and constant social conflicts, which ultimately led to the resignation of the government led by Primo de Rivera .
The fall of General Primo de Rivera marked the beginning of the end of the Monarchy Alfonso XIII . The rise of General Damaso Berenguer also was motivated by the desire to restore “constitutional normality.”
Berenguer said that “came as a soldier to act as a citizen”
None of this happened. The issue of La Voz de Asturias collected the intentions of the new president, who declared after his meeting with the king who “came as a soldier and preparing to act as a citizen.”
Berenguer, however, not fully restored the Constitution of 1876. It also called for elections to Parliament, as demanded Republican opposition united behind the Pact of San Sebastián. He even stifle known as Jaca uprising December 1930 with the execution of García Hernández Galán and captains. During the thirteen months of his mandate received harsh criticism from various sectors, coming to deserve the adjective “soft dictatorship” in a famous cartoon published in the newspaper The Sun by humorist Bagaria
After the commotion caused, Berenguer was dismissed and Admiral Juan Bautista Aznar was appointed prime minister on February 18, 1931. Records tell of the time that the military received journalists at his home, where he answered questions by explaining that sought to “return the country their freedoms and restore political and legal normality “.
Contrary to what promised, Aznar did not eliminate the mechanisms of censorship limiting the press freedom , as seen in this issue of the journal The Liberal . Nevertheless, the coming to power of Admiral himself was a major policy reversal by the call for, before the election of provincial and municipal deputies general election.
A grudge choice
“ announced The struggle approaches promises to be fierce and tempers are quite excited ‘, narrated from Palencia Day on April 6, 1931. He had just checked the proclamation of councilors in some districts, since municipal elections were regulated by the Electoral Act 1907 . This legal framework meant that, under Article 29, in the districts in which the number of members is equal to the number of candidates nominated, no election was held. That is, the candidates were elected automatically-which perpetuated in many places chieftaincy -.
In the municipal elections of 1931, they could only vote males over 25 years
This curious provision, which was changed with the arrival of the Second Republic, implied that the municipal elections actually be divided into two phases. A week earlier, where the famous Article 29 could be applied, automatic choice of candidates was proclaimed. In districts where this command is not met, the elections on Sunday April 12, when they could vote men older than 25 years were held. The advent of the Second Republic also changed the rules, introducing the right of women’s suffrage.
But despite the closeness of the race seemed, few imagined the historical upheaval that would mean 12 elections of april. The excitement in the streets rallies and also moved into the media. It was not surprising, therefore, find headlines expressly asked to vote for either candidate.
Even the day of the municipal elections, it is strange to see how the monarchical and republican press supported their candidacies. Publishers lines were more than that, demonstrating the importance of elections that, despite not having plebiscitary character ended up being decisive for the future of Spain . In the Catholic newspaper La Cruz , publishers pondered well on country needs:
What remedies should be applied to heal the social body of these morbidities? Some advocate revolution and other developments instead. Examinémolos briefly. The generally and particularly revolution in our country now limited to attempted regime change by replacing the monarchy with a republic using for this in all sorts of ways and preferably advocating the most violent. […] Experience and common sense teach us that politicians as worthy of so honorable name, should seek to remedy the current malaise in evolution, that all reforms are feasible legally intervene in the government of State.
The proclamation of the II
So fierce Republic was the vote that chronicles the coming days could not be written without the latent emotion between the lines. There were Republicans media proclaimed a “ Hurra! ” in front, while the ABC warned of “serious political situation.” This paper also emphasized that they ran a hurry to say anything in case the next day “to restrain her journalistic censorship in the name of freedom.”
The Republican candidates had won in a much of the Spanish capital, obtaining a greater number of votes than originally planned. According to the Yearbook of National Statistics, 1931 , the political forces that betting on the Second Republic totaled more than 276,000 votes in Madrid, while the monarchist parties did not reach the 60,000 votes.
In districts such as America, for example, Republicans obtained a number of supports eight times greater than the forces supporting the monarchy. On the other hand, in the neighborhood of Congress there were votes to monarchist parties. In this case the supports were distributed between republican-federal, republican-radical socialist and independent.
The Republican victory was overwhelming in cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia , managing to win 41 of the 50 provincial capitals. On the contrary , the royalist forces were imposed in rural areas, where dwelt a higher percentage of the population and a significant influence of the chiefs -.
The parties Republicans won in 41 of the 50 provincial capitals
On Tuesday 14 April, the cities of Eibar, Valencia and Barcelona raised their tricolor flag in their institutions. That left Madrid, pending the decision of the monarch. Gathered emergency President Aznar and King Alfonso XIII, several alternatives were discussed. Among others, highlighted the exiled king. This option was finally chosen after the agreement between the Count of Romanones and representatives of the Republican parties in a meeting at the home of Dr. Gregorio Marañón, wherein the output of the Royal Family of Spain safely was agreed.
Niceto Alcalá-Zamora , who headed the Revolutionary Committee, Alfonso XIII raised an ultimatum: withdrawal should occur “before the sun went down.” The advent of the Second Republic was unstoppable, while early in the afternoon some officers stood in the Post Office building tricolor, Alcalá-Zamora entered the Puerta del Sol as the first president of the Provisional Government.
The reflection shared The Courier Extremadura was also evident in other media. The proclamation of the Second Republic “was made from the highest order and without major incidents.” The decisive result of the municipal elections of April 12 caused a historic political shift in Spain. Crossing the time gate that Sunday allows us to look back to a time when the power of the ballot -and not the weapons- had made the country, as explained Admiral Aznar, lie down monarchist and he got up republican
April 12, 2015
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