Polish legislative election, 1928

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Polish legislative election, 1928
Poland
1922 ←
4 March 1928 (1928-03-04) (Sejm)
11 March 1928 (1928-03-11) (Senat)
→ 1930

All 444 seats to the Sejm
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  Walery slawek.jpg Zygmunt Marek.jpg Yitzhak Gruenbaum 1948.jpg
Leader Walery Sławek Zygmunt Marek Yitzhak Gruenbaum
Party BBWR PPS BMN
Leader since November 1927 February 2 1926
(as chairman of the PPS caucus)
1922
Leader's seat 1 – Warsaw 44 - Nowy Sącz 1 - Warsaw
Last election Did not exist 41 66
Seats won 125 64 55
Seat change Increase 125 Increase 23 Decrease 11
Popular vote 2,399,438 1,482,097 1,439,568
Percentage 28.8% 13.0% 12.6%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Kozicki.jpg Malinowski Maksymilian.jpg Wincenty Witos.PNG
Leader Stanisław Kozicki Maksymilian Malinowski Wincenty Witos and Józef Chaciński
Party ZL-N PSL "Wyzwolenie" Polish Catholic Bloc
Leader since 1923 1925 December 1 1918 (Witos) and January 1927 (Chaciński)
Leader's seat Senate - Lublin area 27 - Zamość 84 - Tarnów (Witos)
no.24 - State list (Chaciński)
Last election 163 (as part of Chjena coalition) 49 Did not exist
Seats won 38 40 34
Seat change - Decrease 9 Increase 34
Popular vote 925,570 834,710 770.891
Percentage 8,1% 7,3% 6.8%
Herb Polski.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Poland

Parliamentary elections were held in Poland on 4 March 1928, with Senate elections held a week later on 11 March.[1] The Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government, a coalition of the Sanation faction - won the highest number of seats in the Sejm (125 out of 444) and 48 out of 111 in the Senate, but unlike later elections, those of 1928 were still considered free and opposition parties also gained a significant number of seats. The 1928 election is generally considered the last free election in Poland until 1989 (or 1991).[2][3]

Background[edit]

The 1928 elections were the first elections after Józef Piłsudski's May Coup in 1926. Thirty-four parties took part in the 1928 elections.[4] Piłsudski was supported by the Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government (BBWR) led by Walery Sławek, which campaigned for a more authoritative government, declaring its total support for Piłsudski[5] and proclaiming itself to be a patriotic, non-partisan and pro-government formation.[2] Other factions in contemporary Polish politics and their primary parties included: the Left, consisting of the Polish Socialist Party of Ignacy Daszyński; the Communist Party, two Polish People's Party factions (the Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie" of Jan Woźnicki and Stronnictwo Chłopskie of Jan Dąbski); the Right (endecja, represented by the Popular National Union of Stanisław Głąbiński); the Center, composed of the PSL faction, Christian Democracy of Wojciech Korfanty and the National Workers' Party of Adam Chadzyński; and finally, the Minorities, represented by the Bloc of National Minorities.[2]

The government applied much pressure to ensure victory for its candidates. Propaganda media were distributed, Sanation supporters tried to break up opposition rallies and some opposition lists and candidates were declared invalid by ostensibly neutral government institutions.[4] Pressure was put on state employees to vote for the BBWR and to participate in its electoral campaign. Public funds were diverted to the BBWR, which had ready use of government facilities.[2]

Despite these irregularities, the 1928 election is generally considered the last free election in Poland until 1989 (or 1991) as the opposition parties were still able to campaign and put forward candidates, and the results were not falsified.[2][3]

Results[edit]

Sejm[edit]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government 2,399,438 21.0 125 New
Polish Socialist Party 1,482,097 13.0 64 +23
Bloc of National Minorities 1,439,568 12.6 55 –11
Popular National Union 925,570 8.1 38
Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie" 834,710 7.3 40 –9
Polish Catholic Bloc 770,564 6.8 34
Ukrainian Group 647,198 5.7 17 +12
Peasant Party 618,414 5.4 26
Jewish Group 535,933 4.7 6 –12
National Workers' Party 228,119 2.0 11 –7
Communist Party 217,240 1.9 5 +3
Catholic Union of Western Lands 193,323 1.7 3
Polish National Labour Bloc 146,947 1.3 4
Agrarian Union 135,277 1.2 3
Ruthenian 132,018 1.2 1
Struggle for interests of Workers and Peasants 71,704 0.6 3
Monarchists 53,579 0.5 0
Worker's Alliance 49,230 0.4 2
Christian Democratic Cieszyn 46,206 0.4 1
Radical Peasant Party 44,560 0.4 0 –4
Belarusian Peasants and Workers 35,076 0.3 2
Christian Democratic Króleska Huta 33,037 0.3 1
Christian Democratic Katowice 30,363 0.3 1
Farmers Camp Białystok 19,067 0.2 1
Left Peasant Alliance Samopomoc 18,100 0.2 1
NSPP 13,068 0.1 0
Local lists 361,530 3.1 0
Invalid/blank votes 349,939
Total 11,831,875 100 444 0
Registered voters/turnout 14,979,853 79.0
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

Senate[edit]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government 1,844,393 28.8 48
Bloc of National Minorities 1,065,455 16.7 21 –2
Polish Socialist Party 715,556 11.2 10 +3
Popular National Union 590,142 9.2 9
Polish Catholic Bloc 426,060 6.7 6
Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie" 391,918 6.1 7 –1
Ukrainian Group 228,969 3.6 2
Stronnictwo Chłopskie 276,489 4.3 3
Jewish Group 218,435 3.4 1 –3
National Workers' Party 143,806 2.2 2 –1
Polish National Labour Bloc 132,276 2.1 1 –1
Polish Christian Democratic Party 67,220 1.1 1
Communist Party 48,352 0.8 0 0
Ruska 38,778 0.6 0
Agrarian Union 36,118 0.6 0
Katolicka Unia Ziem Zachodnich 12,753 0.2 0
Radical Peasant Party 6,422 0.1 0 0
Monarchists 4,657 0.1 0
Local lists 150,745 2.4 0
Invalid/blank votes 116,960
Total 6,515,504 100 111 0
Registered voters/turnout 10,182,345 64.0
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

Aftermath[edit]

The BBWR government bloc won the highest number of seats (125 out of 444 in Sejm (Polish parliament) - 28.12% of the total, and 48 out of 111 in the Senate of Poland - 43.24% of the total); the opposition parties, however, gained a majority of the remaining seats,[6] with the left - including Polish Communists - doing much better than the traditional Polish Right.[4] Groth notes that the elections showed a progressively increasing fragmentation of the Polish electorate; a steady and significant increase in the proportion of ethnic minority voting; the rapid rise of the Polish Socialist Party as a major force within the far less stable and cohesive Polish Left; and the substantial weakening of the Right by Piłsudski's supporters, as the BBWR, despite its claims of being above traditional party divisions in fact attracted support mostly from the Right.[2]

Although the opposition to Sanation failed to gain control of the Sejm, it was able to show its strength and prevent Sanation from taking control of the Sejm. This convinced Piłsudski and his supporters that more drastic measures had to be taken in dealing with the opposition. Opposition politicians became increasingly persecuted and threatened.[5]

Opposition parties formed the Centrolew coalition to oppose the government of Sanation. Their actions led to a vote of no confidence for the Sanation government and dissolution of the parliament. New elections were held in 1930; however, the Sanation succeeded in having many Centrolew politicians arrested; and the 1930 elections are not considered free.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1491 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ a b c d e f A. J. Groth, Polish Elections 1919-1928, Slavic Review, Vol. 24, No. 4. (Dec., 1965), pp. 653-665. JSTOR, Last accessed on 14 April 2007
  3. ^ a b Kenneth Ka-Lok Chan, Poland at the Crossroads: The 1993 General Election, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1. (1995), pp. 123-145. JSTOR, Last accessed on 14 April 2007
  4. ^ a b c TIME article on 1928 Polish elections from Mar. 19, 1928 Last accessed on 14 April 2007
  5. ^ a b c (Polish) Bartłomiej Kozłowski, Aresztowanie przywódców Centrolewu, Last accessed on 14 April 2007
  6. ^ The Elections to the Polish Parliament (Sejm) 1928 - results

Further reading[edit]

  • A. J. Groth, Polish Elections 1919-1928, Slavic Review, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Dec., 1965), pp. 653–665 JSTOR