Przestrzenne zróżnicowanie wyników wyborów do Sejmu z 1957 roku
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Z wyborów organizowanych w czasach PRL na uwagę zasługują przede wszystkim te z 1957 roku. Przeprowadzono je w okresie popaździernikowej odwilży, a władze nie miały specjalnych powodów, by je fałszować. Liberalna atmosfera sprzyjała wyborczej konkurencji, a oficjalne wyniki wyborów uwidoczniły znaczące zróżnicowanie polskiego społeczeństwa w ujęciu przestrzennym.When comparing the spatial differentiation of results of elections from the inter-war period (1918–1939) and the post-communist period (1989–2015), one sees a very clear similarity between the two (Kowalski, 2014). In the north-western part of the country the electoral preferences are with the left or the liberals, while in the south-eastern part – with the right. Given the persistence of this spatial setting, a supposition arises that the spatial differentiation of the political attitudes existed also during the times of the socialist People’s Poland. Lack of political freedom and electoral falsifications, performed by the communists, make the verification of this proposition quite difficult. Of the elections, organised in the socialist period, it is the ones, carried out in 1957, that deserve consideration, first of all. These elections were carried out in the short period of liberalisation after 1956, in conditions of an enthusiastic support for the new governing administration. The organisers of the elections could be fairly certain as to the outcome. That is why, side by side with the candidates, who were closely connected with the ruling establishment, also more independent persons, frequently enjoying high popularity in the society, were allowed to stand as candidates in these elections. In order to guarantee the victorious outcome, the authorities allowed for the formation of just a single list of candidates. The authorities lanced the appeal to vote for the candidates from the first places on the list, since it was on these places that the persons most convenient from the point of view of the establishment were listed. The few independent candidates were located at far-off positions. There was also an appeal for the possibly highest turnout at the elections, since this would constitute a signal of support for the new administration. These appeals were also shared by the Catholic Church in Poland. Despite the limitations and constraints mentioned, the relatively liberal atmosphere was conducive to the electoral competition within the framework of the candidate lists approved. This was yet enhanced by the fact that candidates represented, formally at least, various political organisms (communists, peasant activists, democratic party, non-aligned candidates) and communities, and, as indicated, the lists also included, even though on far-off places, persons of independent orientations. In addition, the liberal atmosphere and the conviction of the ruling group that they must win, limited, it appears, the electoral falsifications to the minimum. Owing to the advantageous social atmosphere and the appropriate construction of the lists of candidates, the communists could not lose these elections. Yet, in spite of this, the official results of the elections made visible the significant differentiation of the Polish society, both in global terms, and in space. The latter aspect represented a clear similarity to the spatial differentiation of the results of elections, taking place in other time periods, both the earlier ones (the interwar period) and those carried out later (after 1989).