1939 Hungarian parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Hungary on 28 and 29 May 1939.[1] The result was a victory for the Party of Hungarian Life, which won 181 of the 260 seats in Parliament (72 percent of the parliament's seats) and won 49 percent of the popular vote in the election. Pál Teleki remained Prime Minister.[2][3] This was a major breakthrough for the far-right in Hungary;[3] between them, far-right parties were officially credited with 49 seats and 25 percent of the vote.[4]

1939 Hungarian parliamentary election

 1935 28–29 May 1939 1944 

All 260 seats in the Diet
131 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Pál Teleki Tibor Eckhardt Ferenc Szálasi
Last election 164 seats, 44.6% 22 seats, 19.6% did not contest
Seats won 181 14 29
Seat change 17 8
Popular vote 1,824,573 569,054 530,405
Percentage 49.5% 15.4% 14.4%
Swing 4.9% 4.2%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Árpád Szakasits Fidél Pálffy János Salló
Last election 11 seats, 6.7% did not contest did not contest
Seats won 5 4 3
Seat change 6
Popular vote 126,637 78,806 64,355
Percentage 3.4% 2.1% 1.7%
Swing 3.3%

  Seventh party Eighth party Ninth party
Leader Károly Rassay Károly Maróthy János Zichy
Last election did not contest did not contest did not contest
Seats won 5 3 4
Seat change
Popular vote 58,639 57,533 56,943
Percentage 1.6% 2.4% 1.5%

Prime Minister before election

Pál Teleki

Elected Prime Minister

Pál Teleki

This was the closest thing to a free election that Hungary had seen at that point. According to historian Stanley G. Payne, the far right bloc would have almost certainly won more seats had the election been conducted in a truly fair manner, and possibly garnered an "approximately equal" seat count and vote share with the Party of Hungarian Life.[5]

Electoral system

The electoral system was changed from that used in 1935. The number of single-member constituencies was reduced from 199 to 135, whilst the number of multi-member constituencies was raised from 11 to 38.[6][7] Additionally, the franchise had been significantly expanded, with all men over 26 and all women over 30 now allowed to vote.[5]


Party SMCs MMCs Total
Votes[a] % Seats Votes[b] % Seats Votes % Seats +/–
Party of Hungarian Life766,69451.31121,057,87948.2691,824,57349.5181+17
Independent Smallholders Party228,57115.31340,48315.513569,05415.414–8
Arrow Cross Party192,35612.97338,04915.422530,40514.429New
Social Democratic Party12,6300.80113,6075.25126,6373.45–6
United Hungarian National Socialist Party54,8873.7323,9191.1178,8062.14New
National Front28,3411.9236,0141.6164,3551.73New
Civic Freedom Party8730.1057,7662.6558,6391.65
Christian National Socialist Front40,1142.7147,4192.2257,5332.43New
United Christian Party19,9701.3336,9731.7156,9431.54–11
Unofficial Party of Hungarian Life candidates46,8023.1046,8021.30–6
Hungarian National Socialist Agricultural Labourers' and Workers' Party13,0100.9123,1271.1236,1371.03New
National Reform Party4,4890.3017,6330.8022,1220.60New
Christian National Independence Party14,0240.6014,0240.40New
Hungarian National Socialist Party10,8720.7010,8720.30–2
People's Will Party8,9700.118,9700.210
National Smallholders, Craftsmen and Workers Party6,1100.406,1100.20New
Independent People's Party3,5680.203,5680.10New
National Agricultural Labourers, Craftsmen and Workers Party3,4530.203,4530.10New
Christian Opposition2,3840.102,3840.10–1
Hungarian Racist Party1,2880.21,2880.00New
Invalid/blank votes70,581150,938221,519
Registered voters/turnout1,719,22191.02,636,55788.94,355,778[c]89.7
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

a The number of votes refers to only 125 of the 135 single-member constituencies, as 10 seats were uncontested.[6]

b The number of votes refers to 36 of the 38 MMCs as two were uncontested.[6]

c The total number of registered voters was 4,629,493; the figure in the table refers to the number of registered voters in the contested seats.[6]


  1. Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p899 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. Nohlen & Stöver, p940
  3. Georgi Karasimeonov. Cleavages, parties, and voters: studies from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999. Pp. 70.
  4. Payne, Stanley G. (1996). A History of Fascism, 1914-1945. Routledge. p. 275. ISBN 0203501322.
  5. Payne, p. 275
  6. Nohlen & Stöver, pp920-921
  7. Nohlen & Stöver, p933