Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants

The Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants (Czech: Republikánská strana zemědělského a malorolnického lidu, Slovak: Republikánska strana zemedelského a maloroľníckeho ľudu, RSZML) was a 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.

Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants

Czech: Republikánská strana zemědělského a malorolnického lidu
Slovak: Republikánska strana zemedelského a maloroľníckeho ľudu
LeaderStanislav Kubr
Josef Žďárský
Antonín Švehla
Rudolf Beran
Founded6 January 1899 (1899-01-06)
Dissolved22 November 1938 (1938-11-22)
Merged intoParty of National Unity
HeadquartersPrague, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia
NewspaperVenkov
Think tankAssociation of
Agrarian Academics
Youth wingRepublican Youth of Czechoslovak Countryside
Membership (1936)670 000
IdeologyAgrarianism
Conservatism
Political positionCentre-right
International affiliationInternational Agrarian Bureau
Colours     Green
Cloverleaf – symbol of the party

HistoryEdit

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 Udržal 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), 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) as well as Rudolf Beran (Party President 1935-1938 and Prime Minister 1938-1939).

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

Electoral resultsEdit

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

ReferencesEdit

  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.