The Elections of March 1946: Pandora’s Box
With the publication of the Yalta Declaration on liberated Europe on 11 February 1945, the three Great Powers, Britain, the USSR and the United States, formally assumed a responsibility for assisting nations ‘to form interim governmental authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population and pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of Governments responsible to the will of the people; and to facilitate where necessary the holding of such elections’.1 This embodied the American attempt to prevent the emergence of spheres of influence in Eastern Europe and to obtain a voice in the affairs of the area without committing itself to any concrete line of action. With the exception of Poland the specific problems of the Eastern and Balkan countries were not addressed. The following day the ‘Second Round’ of the civil war in Greece was brought to an end by the signing of the Varkiza agreement, article IX of which stipulated that a plebiscite on the constitutional issue and elections to a constituent assembly would be conducted in that order, at the earliest possible moment during 1945. In addition, the Article stated that ‘the representatives of both sides agree that for the verification of the genuineness of the expression of the popular will the great Allied Powers shall be requested to send observers’.2
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