Salvador Guillermo Allende (26 June 1908 – 11 September 1973) was a Chilean physician and politician, known as the first Marxist to become president of a Latin American country through open elections.
Allende’s involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years. As a member of the Socialist Party, he was a senator, deputy and cabinet minister. He unsuccessfully ran for the presidency three times. In 1970, he won the presidency in a close three-way race. He was elected in a run-off by Congress as no candidate had gained a majority.
As president, Allende adopted a policy of nationalisation of industries and collectivisation; due to these and other factors, increasingly strained relations between him and the legislative and judicial branches of the Chilean government – who did not share his enthusiasm for social reform – culminated in a declaration of a “constitutional breakdown” by the congress.