Greek monarchy referendum, 1935
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After the defeat of Greece by the Turkish National Movement (the "Asia Minor Disaster" of 1922), the defeated army revolted against the royal government. King Constantine I was forced to abdicate, and died in exile in 1923. His eldest son and successor, King George II, was soon after asked by the parliament to leave Greece so the nation could decide what form of government it should adopt. In a 1924 referendum, Greeks voted to create a republic.
In 1935, Prime Minister Georgios Kondylis, a former pro-Venizelos military officer, became the most powerful political figure in Greece. He compelled Panagis Tsaldaris to resign as Prime Minister and took over the government, suspending many constitutional provisions in the process. Kondylis, who had now joined the Conservatives, decided to hold a referendum in order to re-establish the monarchy, despite the fact that he used to be a supporter of the anti-monarchist wing of Greek politics.
|Source: Nohlen & Stöver|
Observers of the time expressed serious doubts about the vote's legitimacy. Besides the implausibly high "yes" vote, the vote was held in far-from-secret circumstances. Voters dropped a blue piece of paper into the ballot box if they supported the king's return, or a red paper to retain the republic. Anyone who cast a red paper risked being beaten up. Under the circumstances, it took a brave Greek to vote "no." Another anomaly was that while approximately 1 and 1.3 million voters took part in the legislative elections of 1935 and 1936 respectively, the reported turnout at the 1935 referendum was officially more than 1.5 million.
A peculiar outcome of the plebiscite was the sidelining of Kondylis, as George II entrusted other politicians with running the country. Kondylis died in early 1936.