The world’s briefest presidency

The world’s briefest period of a president in service itself wouldn’t be a topic for this blog. However, it was also the briefest period of a Mexican president, which makes it very much relevant. At this point, I let you guess about the actual period.

We are talking about Pedro Lascuráin Paredes today, born in 1856. He was appointed the 34th president of Mexico in 1913, in a time of very fragile politics in Mexico; just consider the revolution that had taken place, just 3 years ago. Lascuráin was foreign secretary in the cabinet of Francisco Ignacio Madero, a name well known to anyone who is interested in the history of Mexico.

Pedro Lascuráin

Enter Victoriano Huerta, a Mexican army general, who really, really wanted to become president. To achieve this, he thought about a shortcut. “Why not simply dispossess Madero to become president?” he might have thought. And this is exactly what he did, although he wanted to be… discrete.

After Huerta captured and threatened Madero in an unmistakable manner, Lascuráin urged the unlucky president to resign in order to save his life, which Madero did. According to the consitution of Mexico the order of candidates for presidency if a president resigns was: vice-president, justice secretary, foreign secretary. Huerta took care of the first two and Lascuráin automatically became president. All this just to resign for himself shortly after, when he appointed Huerta as his interior secretary. Huerta eventually became president through this move – and through the use of weapons threaten the congress! His plan definitely worked out…

"Yay! President!!"

The presidency of Lascuráin therefore was nothing but a tactical step in Huerta’s plans. And all of the before-mentiuoned happened at the same evening. Everyone that guessed the period being longer than one hour is allowed to feel disappointed now. The sources vary on the exact period, but it lies somewhere between 15 to 55 minutes. That’s very brief indeed…

We will come across Huerta in another blog post. Lascuráin however didn’t take part in Huerta’s tactics for himself, but for the survival of Madero (who got executed anyway later) and for the country. Even though he got offered a post as a secretary in Huerta’s cabinett, he denied and quitted politics once and for all.

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