"Czech Berlusconi" is real winner of early election

Aktualne.cz, Ivan Eckhardt
26. 10. 2013 18:02
With 99.9 % of vote counted, CSSD is leading with 20.5 % of votes. ANO 2011 is coming up second (18.7%) and Communist Party (KSCM) third (14.9%)
Andrej Babis: The real winner of the 2013 legislative election
Andrej Babis: The real winner of the 2013 legislative election | Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Prague - As widely predicted, the left-wing Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) has won the Czech early general election.

With 99.9 percent of the vote counted, the CSSD is leading with 20.5 percent of votes, but the figure is significantly below the party's expectations.

The CSSD is the largest left-wing party in the Czech Republic and it has been in opposition since 2006, even though it won the last general election in 2010.

The ANO 2011 movement came in second with 18.7 percent of the vote, and the Communist Party (KSCM) third with 14.9 percent.

ANO 2011 is a political rookie founded as recently as in 2012 by Czech billionaire Andrej Babis, called the "Czech Berlusconi" by some. Its platform speaks mostly about effective governance and anti-corruption efforts. Analysts consider the Agrofert owner the real winner of the election.

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It is now clear that the 200-seat Lower Chamber will be dominated by the Czech Republic's two main left-wing parties, CSSD and KSCM, and ANO 2011.

Conservative TOP 09 has secured 12 percent of the vote, the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) 7.7 percent, Dawn of Direct Democracy 6.9 percent and the Christian Democratic Party (KDU-CSL) 6.8 percent.

Until very recently, the ODS was the country's main right-wing party that formed the government from 2006 to 2009 and again from 2010 to July 2013. Its popularity has significantly dropped in the past years though, partially in response to various corruption scandals.

Dawn of Direct Democracy, a party founded by a Czech-Japanese businessman Tomio Okamura, is another newbie in Czech politics.

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This means that there will be in total seven political parties in the Czech lower chamber.

The CSSD will take 50 seats in the 200-member Lower Chamber, ANO 2011 will control 47 seats, the KSCM  33 seats, TOP 09 will have 26 seats, the ODS 16 seats, the KDU-CSL 14 seats and Dawn 14 seats.

At least three parties will be necessary to form a coalition government with a majority in the lower chamber. Moreover, this coalition will have to include at least two of the three parties that won the vote - the CSSD, ANO 2011 and the KSCM. The CSSD said it will start to talk to the KSCM later today. CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka said that the party will negotiate on a coalition with all parliamentary parties with the exception of the two decidedly right-wing parties, TOP 09 and the ODS.

Foto: Vojtěch Marek

Very surprisingly, it appears that the left-wing SPOZ party closely affiliated with President Milos Zeman and the caretaker government of Jiri Rusnok has failed to pass the five-percent electoral threshold, in spite of intense campaigning. According to preliminary results it secured only 1.6 percent of the vote.

The preliminary voter turnout is estimated at 59.5 percent. In 2010 the turnout was almost 63 percent.

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