The broader party leadership of the Social Democratic Party has called on leader Bohuslav Sobotka to resign. Twenty members of the party’s praesidium on Sunday voted in favour of the motion, 13 were against. The party leadership also called for Mr Sobotka to be sidelined from the four-member team designated to negotiate on the new government. The team is to be led by deputy leader Michal Hašek; others members are Lubomír Zaorálek, Milan Chovanec and Jeroným Tejc. Some Social Democrats expressed shock over the developments; Euro MP Richard Falbr called the move an “assassination”.
Martin Stropnický, an actor turned politician who ran for ANO 2011 which came in second on Saturday, has suggested that his grouping’s programme priorities are “61 percent compatible” with that of the Social Democrats. Speaking in a TV debate programme on commercial broadcaster TV Prima on Sunday, Mr Stropnický said that was grounds for “rational negotiation”. According to Stropnický, cooperation between the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats (who successfully returned to the lower house after a 3.5 year absence) was a possibility. Political analysts, reflecting on Saturday’s results, have also suggested that a consensus between the three was more probable than other scenarios. There are suggestions that the three could form either a ruling coalition with a comfortable majority of 111 in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies, or that the Social Democrats could form a minority government with their backing.
Four-fifths of Czechs do not think Saturday’s election results will resolve the ongoing political crisis, according to a new poll commissioned by public broadcaster Czech TV. On Saturday, the Social Democrats won the elections but far less decisively than many expected. Second in the election was ANO 2011, an upstart party led by billionaire businessman turned politician Andrej Babiš, which finished close behind the winners. Earlier on Saturday, Mr Babiš suggested he would not back a Social Democrat-led government, but his party has since changed tack. It is apparent that the winners, the Social Democrats, will, at the very least, face difficult negotiations in forming a ruling coalition or forming a minority government.
Deputy leader of the Social Democratic Party, Michal Hašek, had strong
words for the party’s chairman Bohuslav Sobotka on Sunday, saying that
he had secured such a poor result in the election he would have resigned.
Mr Hašek was referring to the party’s somewhat Pyrrhic victory at the
weekend which left the Social Democrats with only 20.5 percent of the vote
(far less than the 30 percent sought by the current leader).
Mr Hašek, long a potential challenger to Mr Sobotka and a politician with close ties to the current president, Miloš Zeman, spoke to the Czech News Agency about the result and compared the situation to three-and-a-half years ago when the party secured a similarly weak victory and then-party leader Jiří Paroubek wasted no time in stepping down.
Mr Sobotka responded on Sunday by saying he intended to hold coalition talks with the Christian Democrats and ANO 2011, and saying he was in favour of an extraordinary leadership convention being held in March of 2014.
On Czech TV on Sunday, President Zeman said the election results showed that both the former coalition as well as the former opposition had “failed”. But the president shrugged off any responsibility for the dismal result of Citizens’ Rights – Zemanites (founded in his name), by suggesting that backing by the head-of-state was a “kiss of death”. He compared earlier support that the late Václav Havel expressed for the Green Party or that his predecessor Václav Klaus expressed for a right-wing bloc this year, as examples. Citizens’ Rights – Zemanites picked up just 1.5 percent of the vote on Saturday, well below the five percent needed; it is the second time the party has failed to make it into the lower house.
Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka has admitted that Saturday’s
result was less than he or his party expected but said his party would
nevertheless try and form a stable government, while upholding programme
priorities. On Saturday, he said he would head a negotiating team that
would meet with all of the parties in the lower house, with the exception
of the right-of-centre TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats. He also said that
he failed to put together a new government, he would step down.
On Saturday evening, members of the Social Democrats met for early talks with representatives of the Communist Party, including party leader Vojtěch Filip. The meeting lasted 45 minutes, and touched briefly on programme priorities and other areas, according to reports.
By contrast, parties that failed to pass the five percent threshold included the Citizens’ Rights – Zemanites (supported by the current president) who secured only 1.5 percent of the vote. The Green Party, headed by Ondřej Liška, secured just 3.1 percent of the vote and the right-wing coalition Heads Up aheaded by Jana Bobošíková also finished well short of the five percent needed (0.42 percent).
The result is the worst-ever in a national election for the once-dominant Civic Democrats. The party ahead of the election had 53 mandates in the lower house and retained just 15 – a difference of 38. The result follows scandals which plagued the previous government as well as the former prime minister, Petr Nečas. Acting party leader Martin Kuba called the result a “major defeat” and said the Civic Democrats would head into opposition. He stressed that the party would continue inner-party changes kick-started after the fall of the government.
The Social Democratic Party has won the country’s general election but
failed to secure a decisive victory sought by party leader Bohuslav
Sobotka. The party had hoped to gain one-third of the vote to form a
minority government (tacitly-supported by the Communists). But with all of
the ballots counted, the Social Democrats secured only 20.4
percent, making it clear the party will seek coalition talks with other
potential coalition partners (with the apparent exception of
right-of-centre TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats).
There is no guarantee, however, that Mr Sobotka will get the nod from President Zeman to try and form the next government. The president made clear in the past that he would only choose a prime minister designate from the “winning party”, leading to speculation he could choose someone other than its leader, presumably from a more closely-aligned wing.
Two people died at polling stations in this year’s early elections. On Friday a senior, aged 81, collapsed and died shortly after casting her ballot in Frýdek-Místek, and on Saturday, a 77-year-old member of a local elections committee in the Chrudim area suddenly collapsed and could not be saved by medics. The local mayor said, as a result, a back-up had to be called in; he said the deceased had been well-known in the area.
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