The Czech Supreme Administrative Court will recommend to the Constitutional Court that it cancel the current five percent threshold in the elections to European Parliament valid in the Czech Republic, judge rapporteur Tomáš Langášek told journalists on Tuesday. The court panel complied with the complaint lodged by the Green Party; the Czech Pirate Party also presented a similar case in its complaint. The Supreme Administrative Court will suspend both proceedings, awaiting the verdict by the Constitutional Court. In the May elections to the European Parliament, both parties finished not far below the 5 percent threshold with 4.78 percent for the Pirate Party and 3.77 percent for the Greens.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has criticized the human rights minister, Social Democrat Jiří Dienstbier over his refusal to lead his party’s ballot in the European elections. Mr Dienstbier’s decision hurt the party’s showing at the polls, according to the president’s spokesman who hinted the head of state considered the minister a coward. Jiří Dienstbier, who is one of the president’s most vocal critics in the ruling Social Democrat party, said Mr Zeman’s criticism was silly and unffair; the remarks were also rejected by Prime Minister, and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka.
At the weekend, Czech Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met for talks with other European socialist leaders including French President Francois Hollande and Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico. Afterwards, Mr Sobotka announced that the Czech Social Democrats would be backing the candidacy of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next head of the European Commission. Europe-wide, socialists finished second in May’s parliamentary election: they will expect something in return for supporting Juncker as the next EC president. More
Former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil has given up his post as an MP in the Czech Chamber of Deputies. Pospíšil, a former Civic Democrat who joined the centre-right party TOP 09, was one of four TOP 09 candidates in May elected to European Parliament. In all in the European elections, 21 MPs representing the Czech Republic were elected. Pospíšil is expected to be replaced by former Civic Democrat MP Vladislav Vilímec.
Green Party leader Ondřej Liška resigned from his post at a meeting of the party leadership on Sunday. Mr. Liška, who has led the party since 2009, announced his decision shortly after the party’s poor showing in elections to the European Parliament. The party won only 3.7 percent of the vote, failing to cross the five percent margin needed to win seats in the assembly. Ondřej Liška said he was taking personal responsibility for the party’s defeat and noted that was greatly disappointed by the low voter turnout. The party will be run by its first deputy Jana Drápalová, until a new leader is elected in the autumn.
The head of the Pirate Party in the Czech Republic, Ivan Bartoš, resigned as leader on Friday, along with deputy leaders Lenka Wagnerová and Michal Havránek. On facebook, Bartoš – who intends to stay on as a regular member – made clear he was accepting political responsibility for the party’s failure to get a candidate elected to the EP in recent European elections. The Pirates finished not far below the five percent threshold with 4.8 percent. With the exception of a half-year break, Bartoš led the Pirate Party since 2009.
PanoramaJiří Pehe: anti-establishment attitudes and widespread disinterest in politics may have to do with historic traumas
Elections to the European Parliament came and went almost unnoticed in the Czech Republic, where over 80 percent of voters simply ignored them. The record-low turnout of 18.2 percent was surpassed only in neighbouring Slovakia where a mere 13 percent of voters bothered to cast their ballot. Why did the Czechs and Slovaks – who are closely bound by history – turn their backs on the European elections? Political analyst Jiří Pehe says it may not be a coincidence and argues that both the past and present have played a role in forming these attitudes. More
Current AffairsPolitical pundit: most Czechs believe they have no real influence on EU decision-making
The most noteworthy aspect of elections to the European Parliament in the Czech Republic was not who won, but the fact that only 18.2 percent of the country’s eligible voters bothered to take part. Why did Czechs choose to ignore the European elections –and could the country’s past explain people’s distrust of decisions made outside the country’s borders? Political commentator Jiři Pehe says both the distant past and present-day politics played a role. More
The Free Citizens’ Party – one of six Czech groupings that won seats in the European Parliament in elections last weekend – attracted votes from people who backed TOP 09 in October’s general elections, suggests a study of voting patterns released by the group KohoVolit.eu. The Pirate Party, who were less than one percentage point away from taking a seat, took votes from the Green Party, according to the study. The Communists and the Christian Democrats had the highest percentage of votes from people who also supported them in the general elections. By contrast, ANO, who came first in the Euro elections, lost many previous voters to smaller parties.
The country’s leading Eurosceptic, former president Václav Klaus expressed satisfaction over the low voter turnout in elections to the European Parliament in the Czech Republic late Monday. Mr. Klaus told Czech Television that the 18.2 percent turnout was a clear indication that Czechs were not interested in the European Union and were aware that the EU was not run according to democratic principles. Mr. Klaus said the real winners of the European elections were the 82 percent of people who ignored them. In response to the outcome of the vote across Europe, the former Czech head of state noted that the success of Eurosceptic parties would mean only a marginal change.