1946 Romanian general election

General elections were held in Romania on 19 November 1946, in the aftermath of World War II. The official results gave a victory to the Romanian Communist Party (PCR), its allies inside the Bloc of Democratic Parties (Blocul Partidelor Democrate, BPD), together with its associates, the Hungarian People's Union (UPM or MNSZ) and the Democratic Peasants' Party–Lupu.[1] The event marked a decisive step towards the disestablishment of the Romanian monarchy and the proclamation of a Communist regime at the end of the following year. Breaking with the traditional universal male suffrage confirmed by the 1923 Constitution, it was the first national election to feature women's suffrage, and the first to allow active public officials and army personnel the right to vote.[2] The BPD, representing the incumbent leftist government formed around Prime Minister Petru Groza, was an electoral alliance comprising the PCR, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Ploughmen's Front, the National Liberal Party–Tătărescu (PNL–Tătărescu), the National Peasants' Party–Alexandrescu (PNȚ–Alexandrescu) and the National Popular Party.[1]

1946 Romanian general election

 1939 19 November 1946 1948 

All 414 seats in the Parliament
208 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party Third party
 
Leader Petru Groza Iuliu Maniu Gyárfás Kurkó
Party FP PNŢ MNSZ
Alliance BPD
Seats won 347 33 29
Seat change New 33 29
Popular vote 4,773,689 881,304 568,862
Percentage 69.80% 12.90% 8.3%

  Fourth party Fifth party
 
Leader Dinu Brătianu Nicolae Lupu
Party PNL PȚD–Lupu
Seats won 3 2
Seat change 3 New
Popular vote 259,068 161,314
Percentage 3.8% 2.4%

Prime Minister before election

Petru Groza
Ploughmen's Front

Elected Prime Minister

Petru Groza
Ploughmen's Front

Official results at county level
Results for the BPD and UPM per county, according to the Romanian Communist Party report cited by Petre Țurlea.
  60% and over
  50 to 60%
  30 to 50%
  15 to 30%
  0 to 15%
  unknown or undisclosed

According to official results, the BPD won 69.8% of the vote, enough for an overwhelming majority of 347 seats in the 414-seat unicameral Parliament. Between them, the BPD and its allies won 379 seats, controlling over 91 percent of the chamber. The National Peasants' PartyManiu (PNȚ–Maniu) won 32 seats and the National Liberal Party (PNL–Brătianu) only three.[3][4] In general, commentators agree that the BPD carried the vote through widespread intimidation tactics and electoral fraud, to the detriment of both the PNȚ–Maniu and the PNL–Brătianu. While there is disagreement over the exact results, it is contended that the BPD and its allies actually won no more than 48 percent of the total, with several authors assuming PNȚ–Maniu to be the overall winner.[5] Journalist Victor Frunză claims that the actual votes for the PNȚ–Maniu could have allowed it to form a government, either in its own right or as senior partner in a non-BPD coalition.[6] Various authors note however that the fraud has been mythologised by the opposition, including in its post-1990 instalments. The 1946 elections were in many ways similar to the ones won by PNL–Brătianu or PNȚ before World War II: the governing party always used state resources in its campaign, ensuring for itself a comfortable majority, against clamorous accusations of fraud and violence coming from the opposition parties.[7]

Carried out upon the close of World War II, under Romania's occupation by Soviet troops,[3] the elections have drawn comparisons to the similarly flawed elections held at the time in most of the emerging Eastern Bloc (in Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland), being considered, in respect to its formal system of voting, among the most permissive of the latter.[8]