Argentina comprises 23 provinces; the City of Buenos Aires, which is an autonomous federal district; and the Argentine-claimed sector of Antarctica and several South Atlantic islands.
The provinces are grouped into five major areas: the Pampas, or Littoral, provinces, comprising the provinces of Buenos Aires (which is a separate entity from the city of the same name), Córdoba, Entre Ríos, La Pampa, and Santa Fe; the Northwest provinces, comprising Catamarca, Jujuy, Salta, Santiago del Estero, and Tucumán; the Northeast provinces, comprising Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, and Misiones; the Andes, or Cuyo, provinces, comprising La Rioja, Mendoza, San Juan, and San Luis; and the Patagonian provinces, comprising Chubut, Neuquén, Río Negro, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego.
Under the constitution, the provinces of Argentina elect their own governors and legislatures by popular vote. The City of Buenos Aires, which is an autonomous federal district, has a popularly elected mayor and legislature.
Throughout the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, Argentina was one of the few nations in Latin America with well-established and fully functioning political parties. However, between 1930 and 1983 the armed forces were a much more powerful factor in Argentine politics than any political party. Almost all of Argentina’s governments during this period were directly military or military backed, and almost all changes in government resulted from military coups d’etat rather than competitive elections.
In 1982, after the Argentine armed forces suffered a humiliating defeat in a war with Great Britain, political parties regained the right to function freely in preparation for national elections in 1983.
The oldest political party in Argentina is the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR), or Radical Party, which was founded in 1890. The other major party is the Partitido Justicialista (PJ), also called the Justicialist or Peronist Party, which was founded in 1945 by military leader Juan Perón. Traditionally, the UCR has represented the middle class, and the PJ has drawn its support from the urban working class, but both parties today have much broader support. Until the 1990s, when the PJ began to embrace free-market economics, the Peronists were known as a fiercely nationalistic party that exalted the memory of their founder. Argentina also has a number of smaller parties and parties that represent particular provinces. "Argentina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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