Title in original language: Pokusy o demokratizaci volebního systému ve druhé polovině šedesátých let a volby v roce 1971
Author: Jan Rychlík
Title in English: Attempts to democratize the electoral system during the second half of the 1960s and the 1971 elections
Journal: Česko-slovenská historická ročenka 24, 1, 2022, pp. 65-90
Abstract: The political liberalisation of the 1960s had its echo also in reflections about the need to democratise the Czechoslovak electoral system. Elections in communist Czechoslovakia were a farce: they were held in single-member districts, in which only one candidate run, leaving the voter with no choice. Act No 113/1967 of 30 November 1967 on elections to the National Assembly, and the accompanying Act No 114/1967 on elections to national committees, introduced multi-member districts in which the number of candidates was higher than the number of seats. Thus, for the first time since the 1948 elections, voters were given the chance to choose from a multitude of canditates, not just one. The first elections to be held this way were planned for the spring of 1968, but were – also in the context of the preparation of the constitutional act on the federal system – postponed first to autumn 1968 and then to the following year. The Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, which began on 21 August 1968, and the onset of what is called normalisation meant that the electoral reform was not realized at all. In the autumn of 1969, elections were again postponed until 1971. For these elections, a new electoral law was adopted, bringing back the old practice of single-member districts with but one candidate running. The elections held in 1976, 1981 and 1986 followed that undemocratic procedure.