The Social Democratic Party will not support its former chairman, Jiří
Paroubek, in the Senate elections due to take place in the autumn, the
party decided on Friday. Mr. Paroubek wanted to run as an independent
candidate with the support of the Social Democrats for the Senate seat in
the region of the Ostrava region.
Jiří Paroubek, who is now 66, headed the Social Democratic Party from 2006 to 2010 and served as Prime Minister between 2005 and 2006. After leaving the Social Democrats in 2011, he established his own left-oriented party LEV 21, which failed to win seats in the lower house in the past general election.
Moves are afoot to do away with the present system of voting for the
Senate, Czech Television reported. Currently if no candidate receives over
half the vote in a first round of Senate elections, the two front-runners
enter a second round a week later.
In April a group of Senators from the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats, the Mayors and Independents, the Civic Democrats, the Greens and ANO tabled a bill under which a first-past-the-post, one-round system would be created.
Backers of the change point out that turnout in the first round of Senate elections, held at the same time as regional and local elections, is 36 percent on average but that falls to 17 percent during the second round.
The policy programme of the ANO government in resignation includes creating a one-round system and that pledge also features in the manifesto of a potential ANO-Social Democrats coalition.
The first deputy chairman of the Christian Democrats, Marian Jurečka, has
blamed the party’s unimpressive showing in the general elections on their
abandonment of a deal to run together with the Mayors and Independents and
“poor communication”. Mr. Jurečka made the comments in an interview on
the SeznamZpravy.cz news site.
Mr. Jurečka also said that controversial comments by Christian Democrats chairman Pavel Bělobrádek on social media had cost them dearly. The party won 10 seats in the lower house for 5.8 percent of the vote.
Election winners ANO have ruled out speaking to representatives of the
Mayors and Independents Group or TOP 09 in a second round of talks on
forming a new government, the party’s leader, Andrej Babiš, told Czech
Television on Wednesday evening. The ANO chief said the two groupings had a
minimum number of deputies in the lower house and what’s more behaved in
a hostile manner toward his party.
Mr. Babiš said he would like his new government when it is formed to win a confidence vote in the lower house before Christmas. His party received almost 30 percent of the vote in last weekend’s elections and are currently sounding out other groupings on a possible coalition.
The centrist ANO party of billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš have scored
a resounding success in the Czech general elections, taking 29.6 percent of
the vote and coming first in all the country’s constituencies. The result
is considerably higher than the 18.65 percent the grouping received in the
last elections four years ago and leaves ANO on 78 seats.
Also enjoying major success have been the Czech Pirate Party, who were not in the previous lower house but came in on 10.8 percent. The other big winners were another newcomer to the Chamber of Deputies, the anti-migrant Freedom and Direct Democracy party led by Tomio Okamura, who got 10.6 percent.
The traditional main right-wing party the Civic Democrats enjoyed a resurrection after some fallow years, climbing from 7.7 percent in 2013 to 11.3 percent this time out. The Communists, who took 14.9 percent in 2013, saw a falloff in support, picking up 7.8 percent.
The major losers on a dramatic day for Czech politics were the leaders of the outgoing government the Social Democrats, who saw their support nosedive from 20.45 percent in 2013 to 7.3 percent.
The Christian Democrats saw a slight decline, taking 5.8 percent, compared to 6.8 last time out. TOP 09 and the Mayors group reached the five-percent threshold for entrance to the lower house by the skin of their teeth, with 5.3 and 5.2 percent respectively. Turnout was 60.8 percent, a very slight rise on the figure for 2013.
Andrej Babš’ ANO party is maintaining a strong lead over its political rivals, according to a survey conducted by the TNS agency. According to the outcome, ANO would now win general elections with 33.5 percent of the vote, followed by the centre-right Civic Democrats with 11 percent and the Communist Party with 10.5 percent. The Social Democrats would come fourth with 10 percent of the vote. TOP 09 and Tomio Okamura’s SPD would get 7.5 percent each. The alliance of Christian Democrats and Mayors would only get 7.5 percent together and would thereby fail to win seats in the lower house for which they would need 10 percent support as a coalition.
The governor of the South Bohemia Region, Jiří Zimola of the Social Democrats, has officially resigned from his post. Mr. Zimola announced his move earlier this month in the wake of the collapse of a regional government coalition comprised of the Social Democrats and two other parties. His resignation was the condition for the Social Democrats to negotiate a new coalition. Zimola, who has been governor for nearly nine years, will be replaced in the post by his deputy Ivana Stráská. Zimola has been blemished by criticism over the earnings of top hospital managers and revelations about some of his property deals.
The Czech tourism sector has something to celebrate following the announcement last week of record incoming visitors for 2016. But all is not rosy in the sector with some arguing that more could be done to promote tourism and others saying that established businesses playing by the rules are being undermined by those, especially in the so-called new economy, who are flouting them and undermining fair competition.
The Christian Democrats’ Jiří Čunek has resigned as mayor of Vsetín and as a member of the local council. Mr. Čunek, who is also a senator, had promised to quit after being elected governor of the Zlín region in November. He has not ruled out running for the leadership of the Christian Democrats in May. A former chairman of the party, he came to national attention for his treatment of Romanies, with critics said was discriminatory. He later became involved in a number of scandals and was forced to step down as regional development minister.
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