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The Bijani presidential election of 1961 was the third sexennial presidential election to take place in Bijan, to elect the President of the Republic, Bijan's head of state.  The first round of voting took place on Monday, June 12, 1961, with the second and third rounds taking place the following day, Tuesday, June 13.  Despite an initial challenge by union leader Franko Batisanda in the first round, incumbent president Avro Sandurvo was re-elected unupposed in the third round.

Background

When Avro Sandurvo entered office as president in 1955, the Bijani National Party held a comfortable majority of political offices at all levels. Just six years later, however, the BNP's influence on Bijani politics was diminishing, and the initially disorganized and weak opposition was coalescing into functioning parties with an increasing membership and voter base. Most notably, at the 1961 general election held just three months prior to the presidential election, the BNP suffered a loss of nine seats, losing their majority in the House and only continuing to govern with the consent of the minor parties. President Sandurvo expressed his interest in a second term as President, but a faction of the BNP was displeased with Sandurvo's commitment to the office's non-partisan role, and sought to replace him.

Electoral system

The President of Bijan is elected by a two-thirds majority vote in the House of Representatives. If the House cannot elect, by two-thirds majority, a candidate after three rounds, the Speaker must convene the Electoral Assembly a special body consisting of all members of the House of Representatives and representatives from each of Bijan's local government councils. The Electoral Assembly shall elect the President in one or two rounds of voting.

Nominations and first round

The election began on Monday, June 12, 1961, during the final week of the autumn 1961 session of the 3rd House. The Bijani National Party which was the minority government in the House, re-nominated incumbent president Avro Sandurvo. The Social Democratic Party, the Alliance of Dutch Voters and the Communist Party, which together held 31 seats in the House, nominated a joint candidate, union leader Franko Batisanda. The Social Democratic Party's choice to use the Communist Party's support to nominate a candidate went against an unwritten agreement that the parties would not seek to form alliances with the communists in any way. No other party possessed the numbers to nominate a candidate, and so a ballot was taken.

Bijani presidential election, 1961: Round 1
Party Candidate Votes  %
  Bijani National Party Avro Sandurvo 97 64.7
  Social Democratic Party Franko Batisanda 31 20.7
Abstentions 2 1.3
Invalid votes 20 13.3
Total Votes 150 100.0

No candidate received a two-thirds vote in favor, so a second round of voting was scheduled for the next day.

Reopened nominations and second round

The election continued at 10:00am on Tuesday, June 13, 1961. A second round of nominations took place, during which the BNP re-nominated Avro Sandurvo. The Alliance of Dutch Voters, uncomfortable with their prior alliance with the Communist Party, declined to take part in the renomination of Franko Batisanda, and the Social Democratic Party, unable to supply the required 30 votes, was forced to withdraw the nomination. No other party or group of parties possessed the numbers to put forth a candidate, so the second ballot was taken with only one candidate.

Bijani presidential election, 1961: Round 2
Party Candidate Votes  %
  Bijani National Party Avro Sandurvo 97 64.7
Abstentions 25 16.7
Invalid votes 28 18.7
Total Votes 150 100.0

The second round ended in stalemate, and triggered a suspension of the election until later that day.

Third round

The election continued at 3:00pm on Tuesday, June 13, 1961. Ordinarily, the top two candidates from the second round face each other in the third round. Since Avro Sandurvo was the only candidate nominated in the second round, he was the only candidate in the third round. If a candidate was not elected in the third round, the Speaker of the House would suspend the election pending the convocation of the Electoral Assembly.

Bijani presidential election, 1961: Round 3
Party Candidate Votes  %
  Bijani National Party Avro Sandurvo 111 74.0
Abstentions 25 16.7
Invalid votes 14 9.3
Total Votes 150 100.0

Avro Sandurvo received 74% of the vote on the third round, 11 votes beyond the required two-thirds majority, and was deemed elected.


Elections in Bijan
Presidential 1949195519611967197319791985199119972003
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House of Representatives 1949195319571961196519691973197719811985
19891993199720012005200920132015next
Local 1950195419581962196619701974197819821986
19901994199820022006201020142016
Referenda 194519461947

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