A Narrow Win for the Left in a Divided Czech Republic

Elections were held today in the Czech Republic, perhaps the most stable of the former Soviet bloc nations and one somewhat paradoxically where the Czech Communist Party still holds considerable sway. The left of centre Social Democratic Party narrowly won the most seats but the right of centre parties made significant inroads likely setting the stage for a coalition government led by the centre-right.

With 99.8 percent of the votes counted, the Czech Statistics Office said the Social Democratic Party had won 22.1 percent of the vote, while its main rival, the conservative Civic Democratic Party, received 20.2 percent. In third place came a new conservative party called TOP 09 led by Karel Schwarzenberg, a member of the Bohemian nobility, which won 16.7 percent of the vote. Another new party, the rightist Public Affairs party, won 10.9 per cent. Driving voters rightward were fears of Greek-style debt crisis. Still the Czech Communist party took 12.2 percent of the vote. Even so, it's unlikely that the left can must sufficient votes for a governing coalition. The more likely scenario is a government headed by the Civic Democratic party. As in much of Europe these days, the byword seems to be austerity.

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Tags: Czech Republic, European Politics, World Elections (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

Mr desmoinesdem follows Czech politics

and says these are shocking results. Typically the two main parties (social democrats and Civic Democratic Party, or ODS) would each get around 30 percent of the vote. That's a very strong showing for the newer right-leaning parties, and it amazes me that Communists can still get 12 percent of the vote 20 years after the fall of Communism.

I don't think you can call it any kind of win for the left when the result will be a center-right government. Social Democrats have to figure out how to get back to 30-35 percent of the vote if they ever want to govern again. I don't know that a coalition with the Communists would be a realistic option.

by desmoinesdem 2010-05-30 12:12AM | 0 recs
RE: Mr desmoinesdem follows Czech politics

Well, they, the Social Democrats, won the most votes and hence get the right to make the first attempt to form a government but it's pretty evident that the next government will be led by the Civic Democratic party.

The CCP gets a disproportionate share of the vote from those 60 and older who grew up under communism. 

The results are disappointing no doubt but compared to how other left of centre parties have fared, this ain't that bad. In Hungary, the left was simply massacred and we didn't do that well in Britain either.

by Charles Lemos 2010-05-30 01:41AM | 0 recs
can't agree

The Czech Communists do better than their counterparts in many other post-communist countries, considering how unreconstructed the Czech Communists are. That can be interpreted in a couple of ways--some think it's because the standard of living in Communist Czechoslovakia was higher than in most other Eastern European countries. Or it could be a sign of severe economic hardship in the Bohemian and Moravian industrial towns that are the Communist base of support. If it were mainly elderly people voting Communist, their share of the Czech vote should be declining in every election, but that hasn't been happening.

by desmoinesdem 2010-05-30 08:46AM | 0 recs

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