Greek monarchy referendum, 1935
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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, who lost almost all his political influence and was forced to quit politics, as George II entrusted other politicians with running the country.