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Czechoslovak federal election, 1950
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Previous election
1946 ← 
Next election
 → 1954

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
Václav Majer Josef Černý
Leader Václav Majer Josef Černý
Party ČSSD RS
Last election 102 seats, 33.72% 70 seats, 23.21%
Seats won
105 / 300
69 / 300
Seat change 3 seats 1 seat
Popular vote 2,466,770 1,641,630
Percentage 34.17% 22.74%
Swing 0.45% 0.47%
Czechoslovak federal election map 1950 (WFAC)
Winning party by district (Red: ČSSD, Green: RS, Dark Red: Communist, Yellow: ČSL, Blue: SĽS, Pink: ČSNS)
Incumbent Prime Minister
Václav Majer
ČSSD
Prime Minister-elect
Václav Majer
ČSSD

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.

The election was a victory for thee Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party, remaining the largest party by winning 105 of the 300 seats with 34.17% of the vote. Václav Majer remained Prime Minister, forming a minority government with the Czech National Social Party.

Background

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 sceptic 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 nonetheless 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, and M. Bodrov, the charge d'affaires in Czechoslovakia, 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 pre-condition 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 1951. Czechoslovakia eventually benefited from $768 million in aid between 1948-1951 by the Marshall Plan (European Recovery Program, ERP).

Election campaign

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.

The electoral campaign 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. While Majer managed to convince voters of his leadership abilities and economic and political success to win a second term, although he had to form a minority coalition government with the National Social Party.

Electoral system

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.

Like in the previous election, only Czechs, Slovaks and other Slavs could register to vote.

Results

Chamber of Deputies


Summary of the 19–20 May 1950 Chamber of Deputies of Czechoslovakia election results
ČSFR Federal Chamber of Deputies election 1950 (WFAC)
Parties Leaders Votes  % ± Seats ±
Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (Československá strana sociálně demokratická) (ČSSD) Václav Majer 2,466,770 34.17% 0.45% 105 3
Republican Party (Republikánská strana) (RS) Josef Černý 1,641,630 22.74% 0.47% 69 1
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Komunistická strana Československa) (KSČ) Klement Gottwald 914,159 12.66% 3.43% 38 10
Czechoslovak People's Party (Československá strana lidová) (ČSL) František Hála 728,258 10.09% 0.43% 31 1
Czechoslovak National Social Party (Československá strana národně sociální) (ČSNS) Petr Zenkl 554,087 7.68% 1.24% 23 4
Slovak People's Party (Slovenská ľudová strana) (SĽS) Jozef Tiso 472,370 6.54% 0.5% 20 1
Liberal Democratic Party (Liberální demokratická strana) (LDS) Karel Chalupa 343,726 4.76% 4.76% 14 14
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%


Popular Vote
ČSSD
  
34.17%
RS
  
22.74%
KSČ
  
12.66%
ČSL
  
10.09%
ČSNS
  
7.68%
SĽS
  
6.54%
SĽS
  
4.76%


38 105 23 31 21 69 14
KSČ ČSSD ČSNS ČSL SĽS RS LDS

Results by state

Flag of the Czech Federal Republic (MGS).svg Czechia Slovakia Slovakia
#  % #  %
ČSSD 1,930,692 35.79% 536,078 31.05%
RS 1,227,789 22.76% 413,842 23.97%
ČSL 728,258 13.5% N/A N/A
SĽS N/A N/A 472,370 27.36%
KSČ 722,863 13.4% 191,296 11.08%
ČSNS 508,162 9.42% 45,925 2.66%
LDS 276,738 5.13% 66,988 3.88%
Blank or invalid votes 69,945 1.28% 27,360 1.56%

Chamber of Nations


Summary of the 19–20 May 1950 Chamber of Nations election results
ČSFR Federal Chamber of Nations election 1950 (WFAC)
Parties Votes  % of votes Seats ±
Flag of the Czech Federal Republic (MGS).svg Czechia
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
Slovakia Slovakia
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

See also


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