Political analysts expect no quake on Czech scene after EU polls


26.05.2014 15:50

Prague - No "earthquake" can be expected on the Czech political scene in the wake of the EU elections, political analysts addressed by CTK said today.


Andrej Babiš - ministr financí, předseda hnutí ANO a majitel skupiny Agrofert. ČTK Krumphanzl Michal

They said the governing parties were not defeated and the gap between the election-winning ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD), who ended third, is not dramatic.

ANO is a relatively strong junior partner in the CSSD-led centre-left government, which also includes the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

The analysts pointed to the "noteworthy" success in the EU polls by the extra-parliamentary Free Citizens´ Party (SSO) and the failure of the extreme right.

However, some analysts said EU elections are losing sense in the Czech Republic in view of the latest turnout below 20 percent.

"I don´t expect any government reshuffle. Not even the election winner (ANO) has won convincingly," said political analyst Petr Just.

He said problems on the Czech scene could arise in connection with the choice of the Czech candidate for EU commissioner. As ANO´s victory is far from comfortable, the battle for EU commissioner will be very difficult for it, Just said.

"It will probably be a hard battle for a compromise, from which [a nominee of] the third party (KDU-CSL) might arise," Just said.

Analyst Vladimira Dvorakova expects no rift in the governing coalition either, she said.

As a result of the low election turnout, the gap between the CSSD and ANO is in no way dramatic. "Nevertheless, it is unpleasant to finish third," Dvorakova said.

In the May 23-24 EU polls, the senior ruling CSSD ended third with 14.17 percent of the vote, narrowly after ANO (16.13 percent) and the conservative opposition TOP 09 (15.95 percent).

The record low election turnout of 18.2 percent reflects the voters´ mood, the analysts said.

Dvorakova said the low turnout is not a good message sent to the EU.

"The turnout will not support the Czech Republic´s ambitions. How can we strive for a significant [EC] portfolio in Europe? Dvorakova asked.

She and Just agreed that the low turnout is mainly due to the way the debate about the EU has been conducted in the Czech Republic.

"No debate has been conducted at all. If some is conducted, it has nothing to do with the European Parliament," Just said.

He said Czech voters may feel fed up with politics now, half a year after the October general polls.

The analysts also pointed to the SSO, a five-year-old party that has gained its first parliamentary seat.

Some consider the Eurosceptic SSO the biggest success in the weekend EU polls, which it owes to the low turnout and to the decline of the Civic Democrats (ODS), a former government party.

Political analyst Jan Outly, nevertheless, said he would not overestimate the SSO´s result, in view of the low election turnout. "If a general election were held, the SSO would not be supported by so many voters," Outly said.

Just said the SSO´s election campaign was the most visible of all.

The analysts stated that the left failed in the elections. The CSSD has lost three seats of MEPs and the KSCM one, compared with the 2009 elections.

Political analyst Miroslav Mares pointed out that the extreme right has not succeeded in the Czech Republic either. In the previous EU elections, the extreme-right Workers Party (DS) was supported by 1.07 percent of voters, which made the party eligible to a 750,000-crown state election subsidy. Its successor, the Workers´ Party of Social Justice (DSSS), won a mere 0.52 percent this weekend.

Unlike in the Czech Republic, nationalists scored a success in the weekend polls in other, mainly old EU countries.

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