Close National Race Continues in Czech Republic


The political scene in the Czech Republic has become more polarized as the two top parties are now in a technical tie, according to a poll by Median. 29.6 per cent of respondents would vote for the opposition Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) in the next legislative election, while 28.6 per cent would back the ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS).

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) is third with 12.6 per cent, followed by Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09 (TOP 09) with 12.2 per cent, the Christian and Democratic Union – Czech People’s Party (KDU-CSL) with 5.7 per cent, the Green Party (SZ) with 2.9 per cent, and Public Affairs (VV) with 2.5 per cent.

In June 2006, Czech voters renewed the Chamber of Representatives. Final results gave the ODS 35.58 per cent of all cast ballots, followed by the CSSD with 32.32 per cent. Czech parties require at least five per cent of the vote to earn seats under the country’s proportional representation system. The final tallies gave the ODS, the KDU-CSL and the SZ 100 seats in the lower house, with the remaining 100 seats going to the CSSD and the KSCM.

The tie among rival factions led to a long political stalemate. In January 2007, Czech president Vaclav Klaus re-appointed ODS leader Mirek Topolanek as prime minister.

In March 2009, Topolanek’s government finally lost one of many non-confidence motions tabled by the opposition since 2007. The last motion was related to alleged wrongdoing by lawmaker Petr Wolf, who left the CSSD and usually supports the government in the Chamber of Representatives, ant to opposition to the government’s handling of the economy.

In April, the leaders of the ODS, KDU-CSL, SZ and CSSD agreed to form an interim cabinet of non-partisan members. Klaus appointed Jan Fischer—a non-partisan, little known public servant who had been heading the Czech Statistical Office (CSU)—to serve as interim prime minister. Fischer took office on May 8.

Fischer was supposed to serve only until early October, when a new legislative election was to take place. But in August, independent lawmaker Milos Melcak filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court saying that the early election date would violate his rights because it would cut his term as a legislator short. On Sept. 1, the court said that it would consider Melcak’s complaint, saying that the election should be put on hold in the meantime.

In June, former KDU-CSL member Miroslav Kalousek announced the creation of a new conservative political party, the TOP 09. Current senator and former Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg is the party’s leader.

On Nov. 12, Topolanek said that his party will launch a new manifesto later this month, envisioning the creation of “a free, prosperous, educated and healthy society.” The party leader added: “Czech politics lacks an outlook for the future.”

Polling Data

What party list would you vote for in the next parliamentary election?

Nov.1 Oct.1 Sept.1
Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) 29.6% 27.6% 34.4%
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) 28.6% 30.7% 32.8%
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) 12.6% 12.5% 13.9%
Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09 (TOP 09) 12.2% 13.2% 8.3%
Christian and Democratic Union –

 

Czech People’s Party (KDU-CSL)

5.7% 6.8% 3.5%
Green Party (SZ) 2.9% 3.1% 2.4%
Public Affairs (VV) 2.5% n.a. n.a.

Source: Median
Methodology: Interviews with 1,429 Czech adults, conducted from Oct. 2 to Nov. 1, 2009. No margin of error was provided.

Angus Reid Global Monitor

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