W hen the UP took over the presidency, the correlation of forces favored its doing just that and then governing legally, not doing anything it pleased or taking full power. A majority of the people, including many who had voted against Allende, favored his being allowed to take office because he had won the election; among the officers of the armed forces there were many constitutionalists, some in leading commands, who, though they had no sympathy for the UP or socialism, felt the same.
Allende was therefore on strong ground when he threatened civil war against any attempt to keep him from taking office. Illegal action by the other side would have united both the Left and Center against it. But illegal action by the UP, even more so an attempt by it to take state power, would have united the Right and Center the other way; and with only 36 percent of the population and almost no revolutionary officers in the armed forces, the UP was not strong enough to fight this combination.
The basic problem of the UP was, in the course of the struggle, to change the correlation of forces in its favor -- to build up its strength to where the enemy could not carry out a successful coup, where rather the UP itself would be able to win full power,