Top Story Social Democrats win election but fare poorer than expected
Social Democrats win election but earn far less than decisive victory The general election has been won by the Social Democratic Party but the result is well below the original target set by party leader Bohuslav Sobotka. Instead of a hoped-for 30 percent of the ballot, the Social Democrats secured just 20.5 percent of the vote, followed closely by upstart party ANO 2011, led by billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš, which finished a close second, with 18.6 percent.
In all, seven parties made it into the 200-member Chamber of Deputies. The results translated into mandates are as follows:
Social Democrats (50), ANO 2011 (48), Communist Party (33), TOP 09 (26), Civic Democrats (15), Dawn (13), Christian Democrats (14).
The results suggest that the Social Democrats – if they are given the nod by President Miloš Zeman – will not have an easy task in forming a new coalition or gaining support for a minority government, as the leftist party had previously hoped. The party’s leader Bohuslav Sobotka has said the party is ready to launch negotiations but repeated no negotiations would be conducted with the two previous coalition parties, the Civic Democrats and TOP 09. Mr Sobotka said a five-member negotiation team had largely already been chosen and he stressed that the forming of a stable coalition was a top priority, while reiterating that the Social Democrats were intent on remaining true to their programme.
Of those that fared poorly election, perhaps most notable were the Civic Democrats, who suffered their worst defeat in their party’s history. Although the party made it into the Chamber of Deputies, it lost 38 mandates of a previous 53.
The party’s acting leader has said they will now head into opposition. Parties which didn’t make it into the Chamber of Deputies include the Green Party and Citizen’s Rights – Zemanites with close ties to the current president. This year’s early election was most unusual in seeing the rise of not one but two upstart or protest parties, ANO 2011 and Dawn led by Tomio Okamura. In 2010, Public Affairs enjoyed similar success initially before splintering into two groups. Some pundits regard the new parties as untested, non-transparent and potentially unstable.