President for an hour
On the 18th of February, 1913, a minor Mexican Army commander by the name of Victoriano Huerta successfully led a military coup against President Francisco Madero. The coup was successful and Huerta ousted President Madero, his Vice President Jose Swaurez, and the Attorney General Adolfo Valles Baca, who would all later be executed.
Huerta felt that he could not just seize the reins of power like many other military dictators before him. He felt that something needed to be done to give his rule an air of legitimacy, he did not want to be seen as a usurper but rather a legitimate President of Mexico.
According to the Mexican Constitution, the next person in line for the presidency was foreign minister, Pedero Lascuráin. Huerta had a plan to make himself President of Mexico according to the law and the constitution. On the 19th of February, 1913 Lascuráin was sworn in as President of Mexico. His first and only act as president was to appoint Huerta as interior minister, making Huerta next in line for the presidency. A short moment later, Lascuráin resigned, and Huerta was then sworn in a president. Lascuráin’s very brief presidency lasted less than an hour, perhaps somewhere around 30-45 minutes, with some estimates as low as 15 minutes. Today it is recognized as the shortest presidential term in Mexican history, the shortest presidential term in world history, and the shortest reign of any head of state.
Huerta’s trick did not work, and the Mexican people rebelled against him. He was later defeated and ousted by revolutionary leaders Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. He died in exile in 1916. Lascuráin was offered a post in Huerta’s cabinet, which he declined. He settled to a life as a simple lawyer, a wise decision since most of Huerta’s officials were later lined up against a wall and shot.