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Sighet Museum: Room 8 – The Elections of 1946

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Sala 8

This room features a selection of documents demonstrating the fraudulent methods employed by the communists in the counting and publication of votes, as well as various period accounts of the electoral campaign and the reaction of the British and American Allies to the situation in Romania following 19 November 1946.
The elections of 19 November 1946 took place in an atmosphere of heightened tension. Both the Communists, who dominated the Democratic Parties Block, and the National Peasant Party, which led the opposition, saw the elections as the deciding battle in the struggle for or against communism. An aggressive administrative apparatus, backed by the Red Army, was mobilised in order to promote candidates from the Block and in particular to prevent the opposition from organising an efficient campaign. The police and other official bodies, in concert with Party activists, prevented the distribution of opposition newspapers and propaganda, and using special teams, they broke up National Peasant Party and Liberal meetings. Great efforts were made to prevent opposition voters being included on the electoral rolls, and in rural areas, where the National Peasants were particularly strong, the voting sections were moved far from the most populated areas, with the aim of making it harder for the peasants to exercise their voting rights.
The official results of the elections showed an overwhelming victory for the Block, which claimed to have obtained seventy per cent of the votes and 349 seats in the new Assembly, compared with 32 for the National Peasant Party and 33 for non-Block parties. From oral history accounts and period documents it emerges that the real result was precisely the opposite: a seventy percent victory for the opposition. When the communist leaders realised the size of the impending defeat they fabricated a result favourable to them, manipulating the results in the voting centres and falsifying the records at the prefectures.