Czech Election – Political Uncertainty Continues?
Following a series of scandals in the Czech Republic including corruption and the abuse of power, the centreright government of Petr Nečas (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) was brought down in June 2013. The Czech parliament dissolved soon after, triggering an early election that took place on 25 – 26 October 2013.
The election was expected to end the lengthy political crisis and uncertainty and replace the caretaker cabinet of technocrats led without democratic legitimacy. However the presence of seven parties in the new parliament, of which two are complete political newcomers, could lead to new deadlocks.
This snapshot summarises the outcome of the election and sheds some light on the formation of the new government and the potential impact it could have on the business environment and the Czech Republic’s position in the EU.
A Pyrrhic victory
The election has shaken the position of the established left and right-wing parties, as two populist parties made their way into the parliament – the ANO party and the Dawn of Direct Democracy. Their rise in popularity prevented the Social Democratic Party from securing a clear victory.
After seven years in opposition, the Social Democratic Party should have been the big winner of the early election. However, landing only 20.45% of the votes, the party failed to meet its expectations. Their original plan to form a minority government with informal support from the Communists therefore failed. This is despite the Communist party obtaining the best result in its history (14.91%, up 4% from 2010).
Moreover, given his weak victory, the Socialist leader Bohuslav Sobotka is facing increasing internal opposition as the majority of the party’s representatives have called for him to step down. Therefore, the real winner of the election appears to be the recently formed ANO party.