1961 Polish Legislative Election
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1961 Polish Legislative Election
1961 Polish legislative election

← 1957 16 April 1961 1965 →

All 460 seats in the Sejm
  First party
  Wladyslaw Gomulka.jpg
Leader W?adys?aw Gomu?ka
Party FJN - PZPR
Leader since 21 October 1956
Leader's seat Warsaw-Prague
Last election 396 seats, 80.8%
Seats won 412 (PZPR - 256, ZSL - 117, SD - 39), 89.5%
Seat change +16

Parliamentary elections were held in Poland on 16 April 1961.[1] They were the third elections to the Sejm, the parliament of the People's Republic of Poland, and fourth in Communist Poland. They took place on 15 April.

Background

The 1961 elections followed the liberalized rules prepared for those in 1957, but compared to the situation five years ago the Polish society was much more apathetic and disappointed with the government. The elections, as all the others under the communist regimes in Poland, were not free and the results of the 1961 elections are considered to be falsified, again a common occurrence of that time.

The electoral system was very similar to that in East Germany where ostensibly multiple parties were present but their involvement was tempered by mandatory membership of a "unity list" which was ever loyal to the communist hegemony. In practice, electors only had the choice to approve or disapprove the lists rather than genuinely get to pick their preferred candidate. There were independents; however, they would get elected only if the majority of voters in a multi-member electorate voted against the official list. Additionally, those who were allowed to register and run as independents had to go through an approval process, which invariably rejected any who were too oppositional. (This last is likewise a feature of present-day Iranian electoral manipulation). Although there was no blatant falsification like ballot stuffing or overt intimidation of voters who turned out, historiographers of Polish history invariably consider these elections to have been fraudulent - due to the above peculiarities.

Results

Party Votes % Seats +/-
Front of National Unity Polish United Workers' Party 17,342,570 98.3 256 +17
United People's Party 117 -1
Democratic Party 39 0
Independents 48 -15
Blank ballots 292,009 1.7 - -
Invalid votes 19,067 - - -
Total 17,653,646 100 460 +1
Registered voters/turnout 18,615,185 94.8 - -
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

The official results were: attendance, 95%. Communist parties' list prepared by Front of National Unity received 89.5% votes. 460 members were elected, 256 from Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), 117 from United People's Party (ZSL), 39 from Democratic Party (SD), 48 independents (majority, "Social independents" and several, "Catholic independents" from the Znak association).[2] However, as the other parties and "independents" were in fact subordinate to PZPR, its control of the Sejm was, in fact, total.[2][3]

References

  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1491 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ a b Norman Davies (May 2005). God's Playground: 1795 to the present. Columbia University Press. p. 459. ISBN 978-0-231-12819-3. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ Andrzej Paczkowski; Jane Cave (2003). The spring will be ours: Poland and the Poles from occupation to freedom. Penn State Press. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-271-02308-3. Retrieved 2011.

Further reading

  • Jerzy Drygalski, Jacek Kwasniewski, No-Choice Elections, Soviet Studies, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Apr., 1990), pp. 295-315, JSTOR
  • George Sakwa, Martin Crouch, Sejm Elections in Communist Poland: An Overview and a Reappraisal, British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Oct., 1978), pp. 403-424, JSTOR

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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