On March 11, 1973, Argentina held general elections for the first time in ten years. Perón was prevented from running, but voters elected his stand-in, Dr. Hector Cámpora, as President. Cámpora defeated his Radical Civic Union opponent. Campora won 49.5 percent of the votes in the presidential election following a campaign based on a platform of national reconstruction. Riding a wave of mass support, Campora was inaugurated on May 25. Cámpora acceded to his functions on May 25, which was saluted by a massive popular gathering of the Peronist Youth movement, Montoneros, FAR and FAP (Fuerzas Armadas Peronistas) in the Plaza de Mayo. Cámpora assumed a strong stance against right-wing Peronists, declaring during his first speech: La sangre derramada no será negociada ("Spilled blood will not be negotiated"). Cuban president Osvaldo Dorticós and Chilean president Salvador Allende were present at his inauguration, while William P. Rogers, U.S. Secretary of State, and Uruguayan president Juan Bordaberry, could not attend, blocked in their car by demonstrators. Political prisoners were liberated on the same day, under the pressure of the demonstrators. Cámpora's government included progressive figures such as Interior Minister Esteban Righi and Education Minister Jorge Taiana, but also included members of the labor and political right-wing Peronist factions, such as José López Rega, Perón's personal secretary and Minister of Social Welfare, and a member of the P2 Masonic lodge. Perón's followers also commanded strong majorities in both houses of Congress.
Hector Cámpora's government followed a traditional Peronist economic policy, supporting the national market and redistributing wealth. One of José Ber Gelbard's first measures as minister of economics was to augment workers' wages. However, the 1973 oil crisis seriously affected Argentina's oil-dependent economy. Almost 600 social conflicts, strikes or occupations occurred in Cámpora's first month. The military conceded Campora's victory, but strikes, as well as government-backed violence, continued unabated. The slogan "Campora in government, Perón in power" expressed the real source of popular joy, however.