The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia already belonged to the numbers of popular parties in the First Republic period. In contrast to surrounding states, it operated legally until October 1938, when its activities were banned. It could also only operate illegally during the Nazi occupation, when some of its representatives were in exile. From a long term perspective, similar voter support at the beginning of its existence and in 1990 is interesting. An exception is the election in 1946, where only authorized parties affiliated to the National Front of Czechs and Slovaks could take part. The Communist Party won a significant victory. During the time of the communist regime the elections were not carried out in a free and democratic way, with the Communist party running as the sole candidate from the National front. After 1989, the Communist party won the largest number of votes in the 2002 parliamentary elections (18.5% of the votes). Since then, its share of the vote has been declining (last time in 2017, it received only 7.76% of the vote).
A similar development can be traced in the number of members, although mass inspections and expulsions played a crucial role here. The first major decline occurred in 1929 in connection with the bolshevization of the party. The Communist Party also suffered considerable casualties among its members during the Nazi occupation. In 1945, it had only a few tens of thousands of members, but soon it became the largest political entity. In January 1949, the number of members of the Communist Party reached 2.2 million. The number of members decreased during several inspections, mostly at the end of the 1940s and 1960s (after the August occupation of Czechoslovakia). In 1989, the Communist Party had 1,740,000 members (including candidates), after which the number fell dramatically. In 1990, the Communist party still had 756,120 members, but after another thirty years it was only 31,456. The Communist party has also got older, with the average age of members now being 75.
Results of the Communist Party in the parliamentary elections of the National Assembly of the Czechoslovak Republic (1925/1929/1935), the Constituent National Assembly of the Czechoslovak Republic (1946) and the House of Peoples of the Federal Assembly (1990)
After February 1948, the Communists saw a mass influx of members. The Communist Party also forcefully engulfed the Czechoslovak Social Democracy in June 1948. Many new members came from other camps, including the Democratic Party, as depicted in this cartoon by Štefan Bednář. Published on the 13th of March, 1948 in the magazine Nové slovo (New word) (MXX)
Headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party on the Ludvík Svoboda embankment, 1st of November, 1971 (CTK / photo: Jan Macháček)
Communist party headquarters
Communist party election poster, May 1946 (MXX).