The poll was indirect as voters chose electors who picked the delegates which caused instances of bribery. Adult males over the age of 21 who were educated or owned property and paid taxes and who could prove two-year residency in a particular county could vote. An estimated 4-6% of China's population were registered for the election. The Senate was elected by the provincial assemblies which had themselves been elected in 1909 during the Qing dynasty. The president had to pick the 64 members representing Tibet, Outer Mongolia, and Overseas Chinese due to practical reasons. However, these elections had the participation of over 300 civic groups and were the first and most competitive nationwide elections in Chinese history.
Song was assassinated on March 20, 1913. When the assembly convened for the first time on April 8 amid heated debate over the assassination, the Nationalists were divided over solutions on how to deal with Yuan Shikai, the provisional president who was suspected of the crime. Sun Yat-sen led a faction to rebel against Yuan on July 12 but was completely defeated within two months. The National Assembly members were compromised by threats and bribes from Yuan. He confined them and forced them to elect him formal president. Next, he outlawed the Nationalists and expelled them from the assembly. Without a quorum, it could not convene so Yuan disbanded it on 10 January 1914.