Bautista Saavedra

Bautista Saavedra Mallea (30 August 1870 in Sorata – 1 May 1939)[2] was a Bolivian lawyer and politician who served as the 29th President of Bolivia from 1921 to 1925. Prior to that, he was part of a governing junta from 1920 to 1921.

Bautista Saavedra
Bautista Saavedra - Cropped.jpg
29th President of Bolivia
In office
28 January 1921 – 3 September 1925
Vice PresidentVacant[a]
Preceded byHimself (as member of the junta)
Succeeded byFelipe Segundo Guzmán (interim)
Member of the Government Junta
In office
13 August 1920 – 29 January 1921
Preceded byJosé Gutiérrez Guerra (as president)
Succeeded byHimself (as president)
Other offices
Minister of National Defense
In office
29 November 1934 – 14 December 1934
PresidentJosé Luis Tejada Sorzano
Preceded byZacarías Benavides
Succeeded byGabriel Gosálvez
Minister of Instruction and Justice
In office
14 August 1909 – 29 October 1910
PresidentEliodoro Villazón
Preceded byDaniel Sánchez Bustamante
Succeeded byArturo Loayza
Personal details
Bautista Saavedra Mallea

30 August 1870
Sorata, La Paz, Bolivia
Died1 May 1939(1939-05-01) (aged 68)
Santiago, Chile
Political partySocialist Republican (1921–1939)
Republican (1914–1921)
Liberal (before 1914)
Spouse(s)Julia Bustillo
ParentsZenón Saavedra
Josefa Mallea
RelativesAbdón Saavedra (brother)
EducationHigher University of San Andrés

As leader of the insurgent Republican Party, he instigated and led the coup d'état of 1920 against the long-ruling Liberal Party of President José Gutiérrez Guerra. He had a turbulent term, as his party fragmented almost immediately after the coup, with a large fraction of it going on to form the Partido Republicano-Genuino (Genuine Republican party). Essentially, the split was due to opposition to the largely personalist, centralized, and caudillo-like governing style of Saavedra. He quickly expelled from the country most top-leaders of the Genuino party, and often made use of extra-constitutional means to remain in power.

Unable to run for re-election in 1925, Saavedra did the next best thing and made sure a hand-picked successor would follow him, presumably one firmly under his thumb. His first choice, Gabino Villanueva, failed to be sufficiently pliable for the President's liking, and Saavedra annulled the 1925 elections on a technicality. Nationwide protests at this transparent effort to manipulate the elections and prolong Saavedra's stay in office forced the President to resign, leaving in his place Felipe Segundo Guzmán, the President of the Senate. The latter, clearly a "Saavedra's man," called elections for 1926.

Saavedra thus renewed his quest to find the ideal proxy candidate through which to rule. He found the perfect man in Hernando Siles, who ran in the elections along with Bautista Saavedra's own brother, Abdón Saavedra, as his Vice-Presidential running mate. This allowed the meddling former President to continue to run the strings of the Bolivian government—or so he thought, for President Siles eventually tired of Saavedra's heavy-handed meddling and exiled him along with his brother (his own Vice-President).

Saavedra remained an influential political leader after that, but never returned to power, especially since his arch-rivals of the Partido Republicano Genuino finally gained power in 1930. He died while exiled in Chile on May 1, 1939.

The Bautista Saavedra Province was named after this former president. Its capital is Charazani.



  1. ^ On 31 January 1928, the National Convention elected Luis Paz vice president who, having not been consulted, resigned before taking office.[1]


  1. ^ admins5 (18 November 2014). "La junta de gobierno de 1920 - 1921". (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  2. ^ Enciclonet

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