1934 Flag of the Czech Republic 1945 › ›
Czechoslovak presidential election, 1935
18 December 1935
Edvard Beneš Bohumil Němec
Candidate Edvard Beneš Bohumil Němec
Party Czechoslovak National Socialist Party Independent
Electoral vote 340 (1st round) 24 (1st round)
President before election
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Elected President
Edvard Beneš

The Czechoslovak presidential election of 1935 were held on 18 December 1935. The President was elected by the National Assembly of Czechoslovakia. The election saw the Foreign Minister Edvard Beneš defeat the university professor Bohumil Němec, who had been nominated by the right-wing Agrarian Party and National Unity.

The election

On 21 November 1935, aged eighty-five, with increasingly deteriorating health and suffering from senility, President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk announced his intention to resign from the presidency and expressed the wish that Foregin Minister Edvard Beneš follow him. At first, it appeared that Beneš' election would be a mere formality, as there was no other candidate for the office. Masaryk's announcement had caught the anti-Hrad politicians unprepared. At first, they tried to dissuade Masaryk from abdicating. Then, on 30 November, the fascist party National Unity attempted to nominate their chairman Karel Kramář as a candidate, but he refused. On 7 December the anti-Hrad politicians produced another candidate, the university professor Bohumil Němec.

Beneš' candidacy was endorsed by Prime Minister Milan Hodža of the Agrarian Party, the socialist parties (the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Workers Party and the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party), the Czechoslovak People's Party, as well as the German Social Democratic Workers Party and the German Christian Social People's Party. The Communist Party, who had nominated their own candidates in previous presidential elections, now backed Beneš. The Agrarian Party and the German Farmers' League, the Tradesmen's Party and the fascist National Unity backed Němec. The election could have been decided by the Sudeten German Party, but since both candidates refused to soliciit the support of this pro-Nazi party, the Sudeten German Party therefore abstained from voting. The attitude of the Slovaks then became crucial.

The election precipitated a showdown between the right and the left wings of the Agrarian Party. The left wing was led by Hodža, while chairman Rudolf Beran emerged as the leader of the right wing. Beran had committed the party to support Němec's candidacy, which put Hodža in a difficult position. He offered his resignation as premier on 11 December, but President Masaryk refused to accept it, and on 14 December, Masaryk formally abdicated. Hodža then decided to go against his party and to throw the support of the Slovak agrarians behind Beneš. The attitude of the Hlinka's Slovak People's Party then became decisive. Hinka found himself the center of unwanted attention, and was courted by emissaries of both candidates. In the end, prompted by the Vatican and persuaded by Jozef Tiso, he decided to support Beneš. When the decision of the Slovak People's Party became known, the opposition to election collapsed.


Summary of the 18 December 1935 Czechoslovak presidential election results

Candidate Political party 1st round
Edvard Beneš Czechoslovak National Socialist Party 340
Bohumil Němec Independent 24
Blank votes 76
Total 440

See also