Balance of forces to change after “indicator” elections
- The Civic Democrats announced that they were forging ahead with plans for a new rightist faction in the European Parliament, co-operating with parties from Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic and other member states (every faction in the 736-seat European Parliament has to be composed of at least 25 MEPs, representing at least seven of the 27 EU member countries, the latter criteria is questioned to be completed).
- Former PM Mirek Topolánek described the result as a comeback after his party’s previous battering in regional and Senate elections. Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek said there would be a different turnout in the autumn elections since it would be fought on different issues.
- Martin Bursík has resigned as leader of the Greens: his party received just two percent of the vote, falling well short of the five-percent threshold needed to win any seats.
- Five MPs have quit the Christian Democrats, the fourth biggest grouping in the Czech lower house. There are only eight MPs left in the deputies group of the Christian Democrats, which is headed by the party’s new leader Cyril Svoboda.
- The centre-right party TOP 09, launched few days after the EU elections by former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek says it is receiving hundreds of requests for membership. A flash poll conducted by the STEM research centre at the weekend suggested that the new party could receive as much as 40% voter support in the early elections scheduled to take place in October. TOP 09 is currently being led by former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, who held that post on behalf of the Green Party and is consistently ranked the country’s most popular politician.
Analysis and forecast (↓ decreasing risk)
The European election is seen as an indicator of party strengths ahead of early general elections in October; however, balance of forces can change radically in the next few months. Moreover, according to Median’s poll which was carried out only a few days after the EP elections, the CSSD would gain 36 percent, while ODS would garner 28 percent of the vote at general elections.
Since turnout was extremely low on the 7th of June, the outcome of a general election can basically differ from the EP elections’, while it seems very likely that most social democratic voters did not participate, protesting against their party’s participation in the caretaker government, but this basis is expected to be reactivated during the campaign.
The new party can overwrite the political map in the country. According to a poll carried out by Factum Invenio, Mr Schwarzenberg’s personal popularity plays a significant role in the party’s support: almost 50 percent said they thought Mr Schwarzenberg’s patronage would benefit the party, and 44 percent believe that TOP 09 will succeed in making it into Parliament. The election results mostly depend on former KDH and Green voters, the activity of the social democrats and the political direction of the new party.