Posted by: cochinblogger | June 14, 2010

What Kerala and San Marino Have in Common

I’d always thought that the government the late E.M.S. Namboodripad (the patriarch of Kerala communism, popularly known as EMS) headed in 1957 in Kerala was the first communist ministry voted to power in popular elections anywhere in the world. Wikipedia, for instance, which I just accessed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._M._S._Namboodiripad), has this to say: “In 1957, EMS led the communists to victory in the first election for the state government, making him the first communist leader anywhere to head a popularly elected government.”

Now, thanks to Hormis Tharakan’s historical piece titled “Sitrep Seventies” in Shinie Antony’s book Kerala, Kerala — Quite Contrary, I know better. Here is the relevant excerpt:

“Before I reached my teens, a communist government had come to power in Kerala, the first time that the communists had come to power anywhere in the world through the ballot, except in the tiny republic of San Marino tucked away between Ancona and Rimini in Italy.”

I was able to confirm this in Wikipedia; the communists won elections in San Marino in the mid-1940s. I have updated the header post of this blog accordingly.

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