Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants

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Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants
Czech: Republikánská strana zemědělského a malorolnického lidu
Slovak: Republikánska strana zemedelského a maloroľníckeho ľudu
President Rudolf Beran (last)
Founded January 6, 1899 (1899-01-06)
Dissolved 1938 (1938)
Merged into Party of National Unity
Headquarters Prague, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia
Newspaper Venkov
Ideology Agrarianism
Conservatism
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Agrarian Bureau
Colours      Green
Cloverleaf – symbol of the party

The Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants (Czech: Republikánská strana zemědělského a malorolnického lidu, Slovak: Republikánska strana zemedelského a maloroľníckeho ľudu, RSZML) was an centre-right agrarian party of Czechoslovakia, seen as representing big business and agriculture. In the period up to 1935 it was the biggest and most influential political party in the country. Led by Antonín Švehla and Milan Hodža, the party influenced Czechoslovak politics between World War I and World War II. It participated in the Pětka coalition governments, and it was a member of the International Agrarian Bureau.

History[edit]

The party was established in 1922 as a merger of the Czech Agrarian Party and the Slovak National Republican and Peasant Party.[1] In the 1925 elections it won 45 of the 300 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, becoming the largest party in Parliament. In the same year it introduced an agrarian tariff which was seen as protecting the producers interest, motivated by the country's agrarian crisis. It is argued that it helped the Hungarians more than it did the Slovaks. Prime Minister Udrzal was a member of the party, but he lost its support, which meant that he failed to hold his coalition together. Internal struggles within the party grew and the coalition government failed in July 1932. It was consistently the strongest party, forming and dominating coalitions. It moved beyond its original agrarian base to reach middle-class voters.[2]

Other important figures were: Josef Žďářský (Party President 1905-1909), Jan Černý (Prime Minister 1920-1921, 1926), Antonín Švehla (Party President 1909-1933 and Prime Minister 1922-1926, 1926-1929), František Udržal (Prime Minister 1929-1932), Jan Malypetr (Prime Minister 1932-1935) and Milan Hodža (Prime Minister 1935-1938) and Rudolf Beran (Party President 1935-1938 and Prime Minister 1938-1939).

The party was not allowed to reorganize after World War II.[1]

Electoral results[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1920 603,618 (#4) 9.74
28 / 281
Karel Prášek
1925 970,498 (#1) 13.66
45 / 300
Increase 17
Antonín Švehla
1929 1,105,498 (#1) 15.0
46 / 300
Increase 1
Antonín Švehla
1935 1,176,628 (#2) 14.3
45 / 300
Decrease 1
Rudolf Beran
Senate
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1920 530,388 (#4) 10.15
14 / 142
Karel Prášek
1925 841,647 (#1) 13.8
23 / 150
Increase 9
Antonín Švehla
1929 978,291 (#1) 15.2
24 / 150
Increase 1
Antonín Švehla
1935 1,042,924 (#2) 14.3
23 / 150
Decrease 1
Rudolf Beran

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Vincent E McHale (1983) Political parties of Europe, Greenwood Press, p151 ISBN 0-313-23804-9
  2. ^ Sharon Werning Rivera, "Historical cleavages or transition mode? Influences on the emerging party systems in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia." Party Politics (1996) 2#2 : 177-208.