|Split from||Republican Union Party|
Working class interests
Centre to centre-right
|Colours||Red, yellow, murrey|
The Radical Republican Party (Spanish: Partido Republicano Radical), sometimes shortened to the Radical Party, was a Spanish Radical party in existence between 1908 and 1936. Beginning as a splinter from earlier Radical parties, it initially played a minor role in Spanish parliamentary life, before coming to prominence as one of the leading political forces of the Second Republic.
The Radical Republican Party was founded on 6 January 1908 in Santander by the Lerrouxist wing of the Republican Union, which splintered off in disagreement with Nicolas Salmerón's policy of alliance with Catalan regionalists.
Initially its structure was loose enough and its Radical ideology broad enough to contain many different tendencies, notably a Radical-Socialist left wing led by Alvaro de Albornoz, a centrist wing led by Diego Martínez-Barrio and a right wing led (from 1910) by Alejandro Lerroux. Over time the left factions periodically splintered off to form more socially-progressive Radical parties - the Radical-Socialist Republican Party in 1928, the Democratic Republican Party in 1934. Consequently by the early 1930s the original Radical Republican Party had been pushed from the left to the centre/centre-right, preferring to make alliances with anti-socialist and nationalist parties of the liberal and religious right. This process (see sinistrisme) was broadly similar to the path taken in France by the antisocialist anticlericals known as the National Radicals
In its early years the party was heavily anchored in Lerroux's fiefdom of Barcelona, which rendered difficult the task of creating either a social-democratic political movement or a regionally-focussed Catalanist Radical movement.
In 1910 the Radical-Republicans first entered parliament, via an electoral bloc with socialists and other Radicals and republicans, known as the Conjunción Republicano-Socialista (Republican and Socialist coalition). From 1914 to 1916, it broke with the Socialists and entered legislative elections solely alongside other 'national' (non-regionalist) republicans, though the electoral failure of 1916 put an end to this bloc. During the final decade of the Restoration Monarchy the Radical-Republicans continued to possess a modest parliamentary representation, with Lerroux enjoying a certain prestige as the chief figure of Spanish republicanism.
This came to end with the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in 1923, upon which the Radical-Republicans went underground. As an end to the dictatorship came in sight, the PRR began to prepare for a return to constitutional normality: in 1926 it initiated the Republican Alliance, an umbrella organisation of various republicans hoping to push for a republican regime once the dictatorship were ended. This Alliance excluded the Socialist Party; in 1928 the Radical-Republicans' left wing split to found the Radical-Socialist Republican Party, eager to maintain close links with the socialist movement. These three organisations were the main participants in the Provisional Government that formed after the abdication of Alfonso XIII in April 1931.
The legislative elections of June 1931 returned the PRR as the second-largest parliamentary group, after the Socialists. The Radical-Republicans in general supported the original constitutional bill that provided for an integral, unitary state but with allowance for devolved regions. The party did however greatly diverge from the republican parties to its left on certain constitutional questions, notably over unicameralism, the dissolution of the religions congregations, and the legal provisions for the socialisation of property. These disagreements led the two PRR ministers, Lerroux and Martínez Barrios, to quit the Azaña government in December 1931, after which the Radical-Republicans would act as the principle opposition group: this de facto placed the party on the centre-right, where it worked alongside the conservative-liberal republican parties of Melquiades Álvarez, Santiago Alba, Ortega y Gasset, and Alcalá Zamora.
After the fall of the Azana government in September 1933, Lerroux was asked to form a government excluding the Socialist Party and including the centre-left and centre-right republican parties. This government proved unable to command sufficient confidence in the Cortes, with the result that fresh elections were held; the PRR emerged the strongest single group in parliament with 102 deputies. Lerroux again formed a government, this time of the various conservative-liberal centre-right parties, but the composition of the congress was such that he could not govern without either the republican left, few in number and fragmented, or the powerful bloc of the religious right, the CEDA. Over the next year various governments dominated by Radical-Republicans were toppled, before finally the cabinet was extended to include the CEDA, a move which prompted the October Rising of 1934.
During this time, the increasing preference of Lerroux's wing to cooperate with the religious right over the fellow secular Radicals of the republican left caused concern among many members of the party. A series of concessions to the CEDA led several of the party's most prominent figures to abandon it in protest between October 1933 and October 1934. Most significant of these was the schism of April 1934, when the party's number two figure, former interior minister and premier Diego Martínez Barrios, led this faction out of the party, taking with him twenty of the PRR's hundred deputies. They would soon merge with the right-wing of the old Radical-Socialist Party to form the Republican Union. These walkouts left the remainder of the PRR even more inclined to concession with the religious right.
Lerroux's rump PRR remained in government with the conservative-liberals and the CEDA for 1935. The party, already heavily weakened, made increasing policy concessions to the CEDA. It was fatally damaged by the revelations of two corruption scandals, known as the Nombela and Straperlo affairs, in the autumn of 1935. This led to the downfall of Lerroux as premier, though members of the PRR itself remained in the subsequent cabinets headed by two independents considered to be philosophically close to Radical-Republicanism, Joaquin Chapaprieta and Manuel Portela-Valladares.
The party did not recover. In the elections of 1936 it chose to ally for electoral lists with the parties of the religious and monarchist right, and many of its own local branches and voters abandoned it, migrating to other parties believed to better represent the spirit of Radical Republicanism: Portela Valladares's Centre Republicans on the centre-right , Martinez Barrios's right-of-centre Republican Union, or Manuel Azana's centre-left Republican Left. The PRR garnered just 1% of the vote, returning a mere six deputies, and several of these abandoned the party in parliament to instead sit among the Republican Centre group. When the insurrection of July 1936 broke out the PRR was proscribed, bringing its thirty-year history to an end.