• Short Report
  • Regional elections in the Czech Republic

  • By Dagmar Svendová | 12 Oct 16 | Posted under: Central and Eastern Europe , Czech Republic , Elections
  • Elections to regional councils in the Czech Republic were held in 13 regions (except Prague) on 7 and 8 October 2016*. In one third of constituency's were together with Czech senate elections. In general the results show clear loss for both traditional left-wing parties as well as traditional right-wing parties across Czech Republic.

    According to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU), the turnout in the regional elections was 34,6 percent, some 2,3 percent lower than in 2012. In the Senate polls’ first round, the turnout was 33,5 percent. Over 80 Political Parties competed for the voters favour but only 28 of them were successful at the end and got the seat in Regional General Assemblies across the Czech Republic.

    The winner of Regional Election is undoubtedly ANO the party of Finance Minister Andrej Babiš after obtaining 21,1 percent of the vote, taking over nine out of the 13 regions of Czech Republic. This was the first regional vote ANO contended after its establishment in 2011 by billionaire Babiš as an anti-corruption movement with a center-right economic agenda. However it is worth mentioning this is the lowest overall result for the winning Party in the history of Regional Election.[1]

    ČSSD, centre-left Social Democrats led by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and winner of last Regional election in 2012 comes at second position by obtaining 15,3 percent of the vote. It suffered a massive loss when winning just in two regions comparing to nine regions secured previously. Sobotka conceded defeat, saying it was a message for the party to search for new program ideas. “It is clear people voted for change in the regions”, he said.

    At the third position comes Communist party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) by gaining 10,6 percent. Unfortunately KSČM has lost considerably – over half of its mandates – comparing to the result of previous elections in 2012. This is by far the worst result in the history of regional elections (according to CSU: in years 2000 – 21,14%, 2004 – 19,68%, 2008 – 15,03%, 2012 – 20,43%). This was really a surprise and unexpected result of this election since KSČM led together with ČSSD majority of the region in previous election period and there seems to be no dissatisfaction felt during this period with the situation. Moreover KSČM voters have been counted or if you want perceived as the ones who are disciplined in their attendance of election as well for their long lasting stable support for the party. This year is surely a game changer for KSČM in this respect.

    ODS, the center-right Civic Democrats won 9,4 percent. As forth in the row came KDU - ČSL, Christian Democrats who also won in one region. On the other side the right-wing TOP 09 fell significantly as it received just 3,4 % of the vote and the leader of the Party Miroslav Kalousek blamed a small turnout of the young voters.

    Worth mentioning is also a Political party SLK, Mayors for Liberec Region who won one Region in which was running.

    Although it can be seen by some as a total victory of ANO, since it won majority of the Region, its absolute numbers tells a different story. ANO has gained just 1/5 of the whole votes therefore cannot rule the country without finding strategic coalition partners. Someone can say that a balancing self regulatory attitude of Czech voters sent a strong signal to ANO saying “you cannot rule alone – deal with it”. This can prove to be a hard job to be done throughout 13 Czech Regions especially after the voters casted their votes quite evenly to newly created parties and movements  established so far just on the regional level. The result is a big fragmentation of the political parties since in some of the Regions the number of parties being elected to the Regional Assembly was nearly doubled eg. in South Moravian Region there were five Parties represented in Regional Assembly in 2012 while now they are nine Parties. To add most of these newcomers are right-wing oriented with not so clear program agenda and it is hard predict whether they have a chance to “survive” in the long run.

    On the other side if we evaluate a result of the government coalition parties ČSSD, ANO and KDU-ČSL which have actually gain substantial support of their voters – approximately 43% altogether we can say they could be quite satisfied by the result. However they agreement on regional coalitions are not the automatic process since the partnership is quite tens and to add up there will be a tendencies from other winning Parties to bypass leading party ANO. Therefore upcoming negotiation would be interesting to follow.

    Generally speaking we can proclaim that this election results show clear loss for both traditional left-wing parties as well as traditional right-wing parties across Czech Republic. We noted that for the Green Parties this election were also not a success story although they attempt to change their political orientation towards Green Parties from Western Europe.

    Evaluating Gender balance of newly elected Regional General Assemblies we find out, that 137 women were elected to Regional General Assemblies across the Czech Republic  that is 20,3%s the best result in the history of the Regional Elections. However this is growth only by 0,4 percentage points since last elections in 2012.[2]

    ANO won also the strongest position in the first round of election for 27 out of 81 seats in the Senate and will have 14 candidates in the second round on Oct 14-15 versus eight Social Democrats (ČSSD) and eight KDU - ČSL.

    Please see also the documents on the right (pdf).

     

    Notes:

    * Regional Assemblies in CZ control healthcare, schools, transport and other services. Prague did not vote in this election due to its status as a city rather than a region.

    [1] Overall percentage of county results winning parties gained in the past: in 2000 - ODS - 23,8%, in 2004 - ODS - 36,4%, in 2008 - ČSSD - 35,9% and in 2012 - ČSSD - 23,5%.

     

    [2] Based on Analyses of Forum 50%, http://padesatprocent.cz/.


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