The Czech Republic: Post Electionem

The current Prime Minister’s party has taken fewer votes than expected and together the two opposition coalitions will have a majority in parliament

In the Czech Republic a vote was taken to elect the new Parliament. It did not go well for ANO, the populist party led by billionaire and current Prime Minister Andrej Babiš: more than half of the 200 seats available will go to two opposition coalitions, both apparently not willing to govern with him.

The Czech Republic has a little over 10 million inhabitants and about 65 percent of those eligible voted in the elections. The most voted coalition, with 27.9 per cent of the votes, was SPOLU (“together”), made up of three parties: it is center-right and is led by Petr Fiala, a 57-year-old former university professor. ANO (which in Czech means “yes” and is also an acronym for “action by dissatisfied citizens”) had just under: 27.1 percent. Third, with about 15 per cent, came the coalition formed by the Czech Pirate Party and a centrist party composed mainly of mayors and independent candidates.

ANO, which is a party and not a coalition, was the most voted formation and the President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman, considered very close to Babiš, said he will entrust the task of forming a government to the leader of the single most voted party. , not the coalition. It also seems that, thanks to the country’s electoral system, ANO will be able to have one more seat than SPOLU.

Babiš, who is 67 and has ruled since December 2017, said: “There were five parties all against us and they had only one program: to remove Babis.” However, he spoke of the result as a defeat for ANO, blaming, among other things, the votes in Prague, historically more progressive than the rest of the country.

During the election campaign, Babiš promised to raise public wages and pensions and criticized the European Union for policies in favor of migrants. In recent years, the opposition has criticized Babis above all for his Eurosceptic approach, for his conflicts of interest, for raising public debt and, more recently, for his management of the pandemic. Recently there has also been talk of his involvement in the so-called Pandora Papers.

The parties that in recent years have supported Babis’ minority government, one Social Democrat and one Communist, have failed to cross the 5 percent threshold. Among other things, it is the first time since the postwar period that the Czech Communist Party has failed to obtain seats in Parliament.

Paulo Bentu

Visiting Fellow

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