Electoral Bloc

Electoral Bloc

 

an agreement by two or more parties for the joint nomination of a candidate or list of candidates in elections to representative organs (parliament), the presidency, or other offices. The electoral laws of some capitalist countries, such as France, West Germany, Switzerland, India, Australia, Ecuador, and Colombia, allow parties to form blocs in elections in exceptional cases, although as a rule a party can act only in its own name in elections. Parties can announce the creation of an electoral bloc before the voting is carried out or before the final results are determined. (In the first case, parties put forward a joint candidate or list of candidates ahead of time.) In the case of a bloc formation in a district in which only one deputy is elected, one of the parties that joins the bloc removes its candidate and calls on its constituency to vote for the candidate of the allied party. In districts in which several deputies are nominated, the parties of the bloc nominate a common list, and the mandates obtained are divided among them on the basis of the number of votes cast for them. In certain countries, such as Australia, electoral blocs do not take the form of a merger of candidates, but rather of preferential voting. In the countries where elections are carried out in two rounds, as in France, electoral blocs are established only when no one candidate receives an absolute majority of the votes cast in the electoral district in the first round.

The combining of lists is a special variety of electoral bloc. A voter votes for the list of his party, but his vote may be counted for the candidate of another party if the leaders of the respective parties agree that the votes cast for their lists are to be regarded as votes cast for a single list; that is, the voter does not know in advance for which party’s candidate his vote will be registered.

In a number of capitalist countries the electoral bloc is used as a form for uniting the forces of the left. In the elections of 1948 the Italian Communist Party formed a bloc called the Popular Democratic Front; in 1968 the Party and the Socialist Party nominated joint candidates with the Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity in the elections to the Senate. In 1966 the French Communist Party made an electoral bloc agreement with the Federation of Democratic and Socialist Left Forces. In 1956 the Popular Action Front was established in Chile; it included the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, and the Popular Socialist Party. Cooperating with a number of left-wing parties, the Communist Party of India scored notable successes in the elections of 1957, 1967, and 1971.

In the USSR, a single bloc of Communists and non-Party members nominates candidates in the elections to the Soviets of Working People’s Deputies.

A. A. MISHIN

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