Czech Republic – Results of legislative elections 25-26 October 2013

On 25-26 October 2013 the Czech Republic held early elections to the lower chamber of parliament. Prime Minister Petr Nečas had resigned in June after his chief of staff had been arrested in the wake of a raid against organised crime. President Zeman then nominated Jiří Rusnok as Prime Minister who subsequently failed to win a vote of confidence in parliament and resigned shortly after. Parliament passed a motion for self-dissolution and Zeman called snap elections on 28 August.

Losses for established parties, newcomer parties win 30% of seats

The elections brought great losses for the Civic Democrats (-37 seats) and TOP 09 (-15 seats) who had previously formed a coalition government under Petr Nečas. The third former coalition party, Public Affairs, did not compete in the elections yet several of its members ran for the new ‘Dawn of Democracy’ movement. The Social Democrats also lost seats (-6 seats) yet still managed to win a relative majority of votes. The clear election winner is the new formation ANO 2011, founded and funded by millionaire Andrej Babiš. The Christian and Democratic Union re-entered parliament after a three-year absence; the party of president Miloš Zeman (SPOZ – Parties of Civic Rights – Zemanites) only received 1.51 % and will thus not be represented in parliament.

Party

%

Seats

Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD)

20.45

50

ANO 2011

18.65

47

Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia

14.91

33

TOP 09

11.99

26

Civic Democratic Party (ODS)

7.72

16

Dawn of Direct Democracy

6.88

14

Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party

6.78

14

Other parties

12.62

Government formation and the role of the president

The election results will not make it easy to build a stable government. Furthermore, both the Dawn Movement and the ANO 2011 party have already declared that they will not participate in any government coalition, yet the latter has declared support for a minority government if it excludes TOP09, ODS and the Communists. In the current situation a minority government of the Social Democrats appears to be the most plausible option as it is likely to be supported by both ANO 2011 and deputies of the Communist party. Nevertheless, the unknown in this equation is the role of president Zeman. His unilateral appointment of Jiří Rusnok as Prime Minister highlighted not only his own inclination to presidential activism. It also showed weaknesses of the Czech constitution which gives the president free choice in appointing a prime minister but does not specify a period in which a new candidate has to be appointed if the previous candidate fails to win a vote of confidence in parliament.

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