| All 300 seats in the Chamber of Deputies|
151 seats needed for a majority
All 150 seats to the Chamber of Nations
|19–20 May, 1950|
|First party||Second party|
|Leader||Václav Majer||Josef Černý|
|Last election||101 seats, 33.2%||70 seats, 23.21%|
|Seats won|| || |
|Seat change||▼ 12 seats||▲ 17 seats|
|Swing||▼ 4.02%||▲ 5.45%|
|Winning party by district (Red: ČSSD, Green: RS, Dark Red: Communist, Yellow: ČSL, Blue: SĽS, Pink: ČSNS)|
Prime Minister before election
Elected Prime Minister
Federal elections were held in Czechoslovakia on 19 and 20 May, 1950. All 300 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and all 150 seats in the Chamber of Nations were up for election, with MPs elected by party list proportional representation and all Senators elected by first-past-the-post voting.
The Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party remained the largest party by winning 89 of the 300 seats with 29.28% of the votes. However, the four non-socialist parties succeeded in winning a majority between them and forming a coalition minority government comprising the Republican Party, the Czechoslovak People's Party and the Slovak People's Party. Ladislav Feierabend, the leader of the Republican Party, became Prime Minister.
Following the 1946 federal election Prime Minister Majer (who was also the leader of the) formed a National Front government with the Republican Party (RS), the Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL), the Slovak People's Party (SLS), the National Social Party (ČSNS) and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). While political cooperation and some mutual trust existed for the first year, the tension both in the cabinet and in parliament between the Communists and their opponents had led to increasingly bitter conflict over the political course the National Front should take. The Communist Party was growing particularly fast due to its organizing efforts.
However, by the summer of 1947 the KSČ had alienated whole blocs of potential voters. The activities of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Václav Nosek, were acutely offensive to many citizens; workers were angry at Communist demands that they increase output without being given higher wages, while farmers were offended by Communist's talk of collectivization. The general expectation was that the Communists would be soundly defeated in the May 1950 elections.
On 5 June 1947 U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall made an offer of American aid to promote European recovery and reconstruction. The majority of the Czechoslovak parties, including Majer and the Social Democrats, were eager to share in the U.S. aid, which they needed in order to complete the Four-Year Economic Plan of 1947–1950. The Communists were skeptical to the offer, but nonetheless agreed to accept the invitation. On 4 July the cabinet voted unanimously to accept the invitation to send a delegation to a preliminary conference of European states in Paris to discuss the Marshall Plan scheduled on 12 July.
The unanimous acceptance of the Marshall Plan by the cabinet precipitated the so-called July crisis. Jan Masaryk, the foreign minister of Czechoslovakia, was summoned to Moscow on 9 July and berated by Stalin for considering Czechoslovakia's possible involvement with and joining of the Marshall Plan. Stalin warned that by accepting the plan the Soviet Union would consider this as a signal of Czechoslovakia aligning themselves with the West, and thus damage Soviet-Czechoslovak relations. The Czechoslovaks chose, nevertheless, to attend the summit on 12 July.
The Communist acceptance of the offer was a result of a misunderstanding brought about by Soviet inefficiency. Gottwald had sought advance Soviet approval for accepting the invitation, but Valerian Zorin, the Soviet ambassador, lacked instructions. Failing to get a reply from Moscow in time, the Communist cabinet members voted in favour of accepting the invitation. Upon receiving instructions from Moscow not to accept the invitation, the Communist Party withdrew their acceptance and voiced their opposition to the invitation, citing fears that the American plan would result in the "economic enslavement of Czechoslovakia."
In the political chaos which ensued, Majer engineered the expulsion of all communist ministers from the cabinet on 18 July. Majer did this under pressure from U.S. Secretary of State Marshall, who had informed him that anti-communism was a precondition for receiving American aid. The Communists, who had considered leaving the government as a result of the acceptance of the Marshall Aid, decided however remain in the National Front for the remainder of the term. The acceptance of the Marshall Plan and the expulsion of the Communists also resulted in a rift in Czechoslovak-Soviet relations, which were only resolved by the signing of the Declaration of Neutrality of 4 April, 1948. Czechoslovakia eventually benefited from $768 million in aid between 1948-1951 by the Marshall Plan (European Recovery Program, ERP).
Majer and the Social Democrats campaigned on his policies of economic reconstruction and growth, social democratic values and close constructive cooperation with the other members of the National Front. In foreign policy, he campaigned on maintaining Czechoslovakia's role as a bridge between the East and the West through close relationships with the United States and the Soviet Union.
Both the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party and the Republican Party entered the campaign positively, which was marked by unity among the political parties. While the parties had agreed upon running independent campaigns and disbanding the National Front following the election, all parties ran on a platform supporting the Košice Government Program along with the existing party programs.
The Republicans, along with the other centre-right parties, had accepted most of the nationalisation measures under the Košice Government Program that had taken place under the Majer government, which included the 1948 Federal Insurance Act and nationalisation of certain banks, mining, metallurgy and armaments industries and the insurance industry. The campaign essentially focused on the possible future nationalisation of other sectors and industries, which was supported by the Social Democratic Party, and opposed by the Republicans.
The 300 members of the Chamber of Deputies were elected from 14 multi-member constituencies (each usually electing between five and 25 members) using open list proportional representation, in which they could give preferential votes for up to four candidates on their chosen list. Seats were allocated using the d'Hondt method, with an electoral threshold a 4% threshold for single parties and 8% threshold for coalitions (requirements waived for national minorities). The members of the Chamber of Nations were elected using first-past-the-post voting in 150 single-member districts; 75 in each republic. To be included on a ballot, a senate candidate had to present 2000 signatures of support from their constituents. Should a party have 151 or more deputies in the Chamber of Deputies, it has an absolute majority and can thus govern autonomously, without the need for support from other parties. The constitution can be amended with a super majority of two-thirds, or 301 deputies.
The Czechoslovak constitution states that elections to the Federal Assembly must be held every four years. Polling days in Czechoslovakia are Friday and Saturday, and voters could submit their ballots on either day. The exact date of the election was to be chosen by the President, who is obliged to call it at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the electoral term and ending on the day of its expiration. If the Chamber of Deputies were dissolved, elections should be held within 60 days of its dissolution. On 10 March, 1950, President Jan Masaryk announced 19 and 20 May 1950 as election days.
As in the previous election, only Czechs, Slovaks and other Slavs could register to vote.
Chamber of Deputies
|Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (Československá strana sociálně demokratická) (ČSSD)||Václav Majer||2,113,873||29.18%||▼ 4.02%||89||▼ 12|
|Republican Party (Republikánská strana) (RS)||Josef Černý||2,054,960||28.51%||▲ 5.45%||87||▲ 17|
|Czechoslovak People's Party (Československá strana lidová) (ČSL)||František Hála||782,742||10.86%||▲ 0.41%||33||▲ 1|
|Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Komunistická strana Československa) (KSČ)||Klement Gottwald||751,028||10.42%||▼ 5.57%||32||▼ 16|
|Czechoslovak National Social Party (Československá strana národně sociální) (ČSNS)||Petr Zenkl||543,298||7.54%||▼ 1.82%||23||▼ 4|
|Slovak People's Party (Slovenská ľudová strana) (SĽS)||Jozef Tiso||532,452||7.39%||▲ 0.09%||22||▬ 0|
|Liberal Democratic Party (Liberální demokratická strana) (LDS)||Karel Chalupa||342,647||4.75%||New||14||New|
|Blank or invalid votes||97.305|
|Total (Turnout: 90.32% – electorate: 7,998,035)||7.218.306||100.0%||300|
|Turnout in the Czech Federative Republic – electorate: 6,026,077||5.464.447||90.68%|
|Turnout in the Slovak Federative Republic – electorate: 1,971,958||1.753.859||88.94%|
Results by state
Chamber of Nations
|Parties||Votes||% of votes||Seats||±|
|Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (Československá strana sociálně demokratická) (ČSSD)||1,803,450||36.01%||32||▲ 2|
|Republican Party (Republikánská strana') (RS)||1,272,081||25.40%||19||▼ 2|
|Czechoslovak People's Party (Československá strana lidová) (ČSL)||633,036||12.64%||10||▬ 0|
|Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Komunistická strana Československa) (KSČ)||570,934||11.40%||9||▼ 2|
|Czechoslovak National Social Party (Československá strana národně sociální) (ČSNS)||421,690||8.42%||3||▬ 0|
|Liberal Democratic Party (Liberální demokratická strana) (LDS)||421,690||6.13%||3||▲ 3|
|Invalid or blank votes||77,816||1.53%||N/A||N/A|
|Total in the Czech Federative Republic (Turnout: 84.40% – electorate: 6,026,077)||5,086,009||100.00%||75|
|Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (Československá strana sociálně demokratická) (ČSSD)||531,515||33.43%||31||▲ 2|
|Republican Party (Republikánská strana') (RS)||397,643||25.01%||20||▲ 3|
|Slovak People's Party (Slovenská ľudová strana) (SĽS)||371,409||23.36%||17||▼ 3|
|Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Komunistická strana Československa) (KSČ)||165,035||10.38%||7||▼ 2|
|Liberal Democratic Party (Liberální demokratická strana) (LDS)||76,476||4.81%||0||New|
|Czechoslovak National Social Party (Československá strana národně sociální) (ČSNS)||47,857||3.01%||0||▬ 0|
|Invalid or blank votes||28,649||1.77%||N/A||N/A|
|Total in the Slovak Federative Republic (Turnout: 82.08% – electorate: 1,971,958)||1,618,583||100.00%||75|
|Total (Turnout: 83,83% – electorate: 7,998,035)||5,086,009||100.0%||150|
Aftermath and government formation
The Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party remained the largest party by winning 89 of the 300 seats with 29.28% of the votes. This was mainly due to Václav Majer's ability to convince voters of his leadership abilities and economic and political success. However, the election was a dissapointment for the Social Democrats, who suffered a drop of 4%. The Communist Party were soundly defeated, winning only 10.42% of the vote, a drop of 5.52%. The loss was credited to the policies of the party which had alienated whole blocs of potential voters.
The four non-socialist parties succeeded in winning a majority between them and formed a coalition minority government comprising the Republican Party, the Czechoslovak People's Party and the Slovak People's Party, with the Liberal Democratic Party providing parliamentary support. Josef Černý, the leader of the Republican Party, became Prime Minister.