Czech Republic – Senate and local elections

The Czech Republic is the newest semi-presidential country. The first direct presidential election will take place in January 2013. However, there may be a general election before then. The current coalition comprises the Civic Democratic party (ODS), TOP ’09, and Public Affairs (VV). They are currently facing a possible vote of no-confidence.

On Saturday, there were local elections as well as elections for one-third of the Senate. The ruling parties did badly, perhaps precipitating a general election.

CTK reports the following figures: the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) won 23.6%, the Communists (KCSM) won 20.4%, the ODS won 12.3%, the extra-parliamentary Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) won 9.9%, and TOP 09/STAN won 6.6%. No other party crossed the 5% threshold. According to the report, this means that the CSSD will win nine regions, the KCSM will win two, the ODS will win one, and a regional list will win one.

In the Senate 27 constituencies were contested. CTK reports that the ODS held 14 of these seats prior to the election. However, it has qualified for the second round in a week’s time in just 10 constituencies. So, it will face big losses. By contrast, the CSSD will compete at the second round in 23 constituencies. The biggest change was that the KCSM will compete in 12 constituencies compared with none two years ago. My understanding, though, is that the CSSD and the KCSM will be competing against each other in some constituencies, so the opposition gains will be limited, even if they will definitely gain seats overall. CTK estimates that the CSSD will win nine Senate seats, ODS six, the KDU-CSL two, and the KCSM perhaps only one or two.

Overall, though, this was clearly a bad election for the incumbent government.

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