On Czech TV on Sunday, President Zeman said the election results showed that both the former coalition as well as the former opposition had “failed”. But the president shrugged off any responsibility for the dismal result of Citizens’ Rights – Zemanites (founded in his name), by suggesting that backing by the head-of-state was a “kiss of death”. He compared earlier support that the late Václav Havel expressed for the Green Party or that his predecessor Václav Klaus expressed for a right-wing bloc this year, as examples. Citizens’ Rights – Zemanites picked up just 1.5 percent of the vote on Saturday, well below the five percent needed; it is the second time the party has failed to make it into the lower house.
In related news, Jiří Pospíšil, a deputy chairman of the Civic
Democratic Party and former justice minister, has told news site iDnes
former president Václav Klaus’s support for the right-wing bloc Heads
(or Chin Up) – which suffered defeat on Saturday - spelled his political
end. The former minister also expressed disappointment that the former
president had turned against the party he once led, referring to his
actions as “mudslinging”.
Regarding his own party’s dismal 7.7 percent result, Mr Pospíšil called it a “debacle” and said the Civic Democrats had been given a last chance to turn things around. He stressed that a new leadership would need to be elected and that the party – in opposition – needed to focus on quality politics. Mr Pospíšil is one of 16 Civic Democrat MPs elected on Saturday; previously the party had 53.
The Social Democratic Party has won the country’s general election but
failed to secure a decisive victory sought by party leader Bohuslav
Sobotka. The party had hoped to gain one-third of the vote to form a
minority government (tacitly-supported by the Communists). But with all of
the ballots counted, the Social Democrats secured only 20.4
percent, making it clear the party will seek coalition talks with other
potential coalition partners (with the apparent exception of
right-of-centre TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats).
There is no guarantee, however, that Mr Sobotka will get the nod from President Zeman to try and form the next government. The president made clear in the past that he would only choose a prime minister designate from the “winning party”, leading to speculation he could choose someone other than its leader, presumably from a more closely-aligned wing.
The party’s leader Bohuslav Sobotka has said his party is ready to launch negotiations but repeated no negotiations would be conducted with the two previous coalition parties, the Civic Democrats and TOP 09. Mr Sobotka said a five-member negotiation team had largely already been chosen and he stressed that the forming of a stable coalition was a top priority as well remaining true to the party's programme.
The upstart party ANO 2011, led by billionaire businessman-turned-politician Andrej Babiš, secured the most surprising result of the election this year. The party, running a highly-effective protest campaign, finished second with 18.6 percent of the vote, outpacing not only the Communists, who were third (with 14.9 percent), but also two of the parties from the former government, TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats. TOP 09, led by Karel Schwarzenberg, finished with 11.9 percent of the vote, and the Civic Democrats, led by Miroslava Němcová, secured 7.7 percent.
The result is the worst-ever in a national election for the once-dominant Civic Democrats. The party ahead of the election had 53 mandates in the lower house and retained just 15 – a difference of 38. The result follows scandals which plagued the previous government as well as the former prime minister, Petr Nečas. Acting party leader Martin Kuba called the result a “major defeat” and said the Civic Democrats would head into opposition. He stressed that the party would continue inner-party changes kick-started after the fall of the government.
This year’s election also saw other major surprises, among them the success of a ‘second’ protest party, Dawn, led by Czech-Japanese businessman turned senator Tomio Okamura. Dawn, with what many pundits regard as a strongly populist message, made it into the Chamber of Deputies with 7 percent of the vote. The election also saw the successful return to the lower house of the Christian Democrats led by Pavel Bělobrádek (6.8 percent), a long-established party that failed to make it into the Chamber of Deputies last time.
The parties that made it into the lower house of Parliament: Social
Democrats (20.4%), ANO 2011 (18.6%), Communist Party (14.9%), TOP 09
Civic Democrats (7.6%), Dawn (6.9%), Christian Democrats (6.77%).
Translated into mandates in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies: Social Democrats (50), ANO 2011 (47), Communist Party (33), TOP 09 (26), Civic Democrats (16), Dawn (14), Christian Democrats (14).
By contrast, parties that failed to pass the five percent threshold included the Citizens’ Rights – Zemanites (supported by the current president) who secured only 1.5 percent of the vote. The Green Party, headed by Ondřej Liška, secured just 3.1 percent of the vote and the right-wing coalition Heads Up aheaded by Jana Bobošíková also finished well short of the five percent needed (0.42 percent).