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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Communists and Socialists no longer in the Czech Parliament

By UME

On 8 and 9 October, the Czechs elected a new parliament. After an extremely close election, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš may not remain in office. The elections have also shown that Czech politics is polarized around two personalities, Andrej Babiš and Petr Fiala, to the detriment of the classical left, which has now completely disappeared from parliament, where only four coalitions share seats.

Concise results reflecting polarization

The tension lasted until the last moment. Voter turnout was quite high at 65.43%, which is 4.6% more than in the last elections. The SPOLU (Joint, Centre-Right) coalition, which includes the ODS, KDU-ČSL and TOP 09, received 27.79% of the vote, just ahead of the incumbent prime minister’s ANO party, which received 27.12%.

The Czech electoral system is based on an adaptation of the famous d’Hondtschen system with preferential votes in 14 constituencies. Due to these peculiarities, the ANO, although in second place, retained 72 seats in the House of Representatives, while the tripartite alliance SPOLU received only 71 seats. The coalition of STAN (Mayors and Independents, Others) and Pirates (Progressive Globalists) received 15.62% of the vote and won 37 seats, while Tomio Okamura’s SPD (Freedom and Direct Democracy), the patriotic and Eurosceptic party, received 9.56% of the vote and retains 20 seats.

Although he has one more seat than his rival Petr Fiala, Andrej Babiš is in trouble: with only 72 seats, even a coalition with the SPD would not give him a majority to form a government. So the kingmaker is the STAN Pirate Coalition led by anti-globalization activist Ivan Bartoš. Yesterday evening, SPOLU and the STAN Pirate Coalition signed a memorandum to form a government.

The classic left no longer in parliament

The first thing that stands out in these elections is the fact that the Communists (KSČM) – led by Vojtěch Filip – are not represented in parliament for the first time since the regime change. This marks a milestone in the slow decline of this left-wing political force.

Another important element is the absence of the social democratic party ČSSD. The classical left of the 20th century, whether socialist or communist, is therefore no longer represented in the Czech parliament.

The right-wing coalition led by Trikolóra received 2.76% of the vote, missing out on entering parliament and the breakthrough hoped for by party founder Václav Klaus junior.

Many small parties are victims of the polarization of Czech politics around the two personalities Andrej Babiš and Petr Fiala.

President in the intensive care unit

After the elections, the announcement of the results was marked by the sudden and unfortunate news that President Miloš Zeman is in intensive care.

As long as the President is unable to exercise his office, he is represented by the Prime Minister and the President of the House of Representatives. As long as the situation continues, the Czech Republic will definitely not be able to appoint a new prime minister. This will free up time for the negotiations of the coalition government.

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