Czech legislative election, 2013
|Winning party by district (Red: Communist, Orange: ČSSD, Blue: ANO 2011, Purple: TOP 09)|
The government elected in May 2010 led by Prime Minister Petr Nečas was forced to resign on 17 June 2013, after a corruption and bribery scandal. A caretaker government led by Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok was then appointed by the President, but narrowly lost a vote of confidence on 7 August, leading to its resignation six days later. The Chamber of Deputies then passed a motion dissolving itself on 20 August, with a call for new elections within 60 days after presidential assent. The President gave his assent on 28 August, scheduling the elections for 25 and 26 October 2013.
The two parties gaining the most seats were the Czech Social Democratic Party (50 seats) and the new party ANO 2011 (47 seats). The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia came third, with a 3.6% swing in its favour. The two parties from the previous coalition government who were contesting the election, TOP 09 and the Civic Democratic Party, both lost substantial numbers of seats, to come fourth and fifth, respectively. Two other parties gained seats, the new Dawn of Direct Democracy party and the Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party.
On 22 April 2012, after a split of Public Affairs (VV) over corruption accusations against the party leadership itself (especially Vít Bárta), the ruling coalition of Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and TOP 09 dissolved its coalition with Public Affairs, and it appeared as if early elections would be held in June 2012. A breakaway fraction of Public Affairs led by Karolína Peake, was however shortly afterwards established as the party Liberal Democrats (LIDEM), who by effect entered and replaced VV in the three party government with ODS and TOP09. This slightly revised government constellation represented a total of 100 seats (ODS=51, TOP09=41, LIDEM=8), and as it also had additional backing from a group of independent MPs, it managed to win a subsequent vote of confidence on 27 April 2012, by 105 to 93 votes.
On 17 June 2013, Prime Minister Petr Nečas resigned after a spying and corruption scandal. The leading opposition party, Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), demanded dissolving the Chamber of Deputies and a snap election, while the ODS‑TOP09‑LIDEM coalition argued they could still muster a majority for the governments continuation under Miroslava Němcová (ODS) as new prime minister, which they proposed to the Czech President. As per 25 June 2013, the previous government alliance however only represented 98 seats (ODS=50, TOP09=42, LIDEM=6), and was thus also dependent upon support from independent MPs. In order to proof existence of majority for the ODS led coalition, it submitted 101 MP signatures of support to the president, which included two extra independents being part of the LIDEM parliamentary group and the independent Michal Doktor (a former ODS party member). In this given situation, Czech President Miloš Zeman decided unprecedentedly not to adhere to any of the political requests, but instead to appoint a caretaker government which he calls "government of experts", while his critics describe it as "government of Zeman's friends", with Jiří Rusnok as new prime minister. Former Prime Minister Jan Fischer was named as finance minister. Zeman emphasized that if the caretaker government, against his believe, could not muster majority support in the constitutionally required vote of confidence, taking place after 30 days in office, then he would award a second attempt for government formation to the ODS led coalition, provided it could still submit at least 101 MP signatures of renewed support.
On 7 August 2013, the caretaker government of Jiří Rusnok lost the constitutionally required vote of confidence in parliament by 93 to 100 votes, with 7 opting not to vote. A simple majority of voting legislators was required to unseat the government, and this move was supported by all MPs from ODS, TOP09 and LIDEM; except from two ODS MPs and Karolína Peake from LIDEM, who broke the party ranks by opting not to vote. The two dissenting ODS MPs, who both lost their membership of the party few hours after the vote, reasoned their decision by stating they agreed with the analysis published by Prague's ODS councilor Tomáš Hrdlička, pointing out that if ODS wanted to win the municipal elections in 2014, it now needed some time in opposition to rebuild its moral integrity through some serious self-reflection, which included to "critically evaluate the errors of his governance, with particular emphasis on unmet or even broken election promises to voters (i.e. not to increase taxes)".
Following the vote, Karolína Peake decided to resign as leader of LIDEM, and TOP09 stated that due to a lack of sufficient absolute support for a potentially renewed ODS‑TOP09‑LIDEM government, reflected by that the three coalition parties only mustered 100 nay votes in the confidence vote (which came three short of absolute majority, when considering two of the nay votes had been submitted by NS-LEV 21 who wanted a ČSSD led government), they would now drop their support for renewal of such government, and instead support an early election. The ČSSD and Communist Party (KSČM) did likewise support an early election.
Though the constitution of the Czech Republic allows the president two chances to offer someone an opportunity to form a new government, there is no time limit. As such the current caretaker government could in theory, despite of having lost the confidence vote, be allowed by the president to continue in its interim capacity till the election day, which might only arrive by the end of the legislative term in May 2014 - unless the parliament decides to hold a snap election by dissolving itself. Never-the-less, the caretaker government decided voluntarily to resign immediately on 13 August 2013. This prompted the parliament to convene on 20 August with the agenda to decide, if the next step shall be, to dissolve the parliament with a call for new elections within 60 days, or in the alternative, to request the president shall start his second and final attempt to form a new government.
A vote was to take place at 14:00 on 20 August on dissolution of the parliament. The four parties (TOP 09, ČSSD, KSČM and VV) who had stated to support this motion, together represented more than the requisite minimum of 120 seats, corresponding to a 60% constitutional majority as per article 35(2) in the Czech constitution, being needed to pass the resolution. The spokeswoman of the president stated that in case of parliament being dissolved, the president would most likely schedule this event to happen on 25–26 October 2013. On 20 August, the parliament indeed voted to approve the motion about dissolving itself, decided by 140 in favour of the motion and seven against; thus resulting in a new election within 60 days after presidential assent. The president gave his approving assent for the dissolution of the parliament on 28 August, and scheduled the elections for 25‑26 October 2013.
The box below shows the distribution of seats in the incumbent Chamber of Deputies on 20 August 2013, at the last working day before the parliament was dissolved.
|Distribution of seats in Chamber of Deputies||On 20 August 2013|
|ČSSD||Czech Social Democratic Party||54|
|ODS||Civic Democratic Party||48|
|LEV 21 - NS||LEV 21 – National Socialists (Jiří Paroubek and Petr Benda)||2|
|Úsvit||Dawn of Direct Democracy (Radim Fiala)||1|
|PSZ||Pro Sport and Health (Josef Dobeš)||1|
|JIH 12||Jihočeši 2012 (South Bohemian Regional Party: Michal Doktor)||1|
* Three of these eight members (Martin Vacek, Radim Vysloužil, Jana Suchá) were however not members of the LIDEM party itself, but just collaborated with the LIDEM parliamentary group as independents.
- ČSSD confirmed Bohuslav Sobotka as the party’s candidate for Prime Minister in the elections, and ruled out forming any government coalitions with either TOP09 or ODS. The Communist Party were not envisaged to be part of a new government either, but it was expected they would support any ČSSD-led government. If the party wins more than 33% of the votes, Sobotka said he can envision the creation of a ČSSD single-party minority government. The party presented a 21-point campaign platform, which included: Higher taxes on businesses and gambling; income tax increased to 27-29% for people with monthly earnings above CZK 100,000; creation of new jobs; a minimum wage increase from 8.5 to 12 thousand CZK per month; pensions guaranteed to increase with inflation; the VAT for medicine - along with payment for doctor checks - should be removed; more police employed in high crime areas; and implementation of a new Civil Service Act.
- TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg said the main issue for his party during the campaign would be to campaign against Zeman and his abuse of the presidential power. He added: "At first, we wanted to launch a European election campaign, but now the defence of parliamentary democracy is the issue. In fact, the republic is the issue." On 12 September, the party published its political campaign, which among its priorities included: Curbing the powers of the president; setting a time-frame for Euro adoption; boosting the role of education and culture in society; and encourage greater individual responsibility for living a healthy life.
- ODS is a right-wing party led by Miroslava Němcová. Its election manifesto was presented 11 September and targeted mainly middle class and young voters, with special support for under-30s to buy their first home and making it easier for them to start their own business.
- ODS renegades led by ODS MP Boris Šťastný invited the former Czech President and founder of ODS Václav Klaus to establish a new right-wing party based on the original ODS values, arguing it was important to present a serious right-wing alternative to ODS in the upcoming election. Šťastný stated: "I can no longer run for the party who left their ideas. Betrayed their voters by failing to comply with what they promised before the election, and none of leadership apologized for it or decided to change." He also argued that a true democratic party should allow its members free speech and expression of individual opinions, without excluding them from the party group, as had been the practice of ODS in the past few years. It was unclear if Klaus would accept his offer to establish such new political party, but if he did, several ODS renegades expressed they were ready to sign up and support it. Klaus responded on 24 August that he seriously considered accepting a return to politics, and would decide in the next few days. ODS MP Pavel Bém announced he would also join the group of ODS renegades, if it was being led by Klaus. On 28 August, Klaus announced that he will not run in the 2013 election. Nonetheless, the new party was announced two days later as participating in the upcoming elections under the name Cheer up - voting bloc (HV).
- Cheer up - voting bloc (HV) is a new party with confirmed participation in the general elections, being headed by Jana Bobošíková, and comprising a united group of the Sovereignty Party (SBB), Heal Our Policy (UNP), Jihočeši 2012 (JIH12), the ultra conservative initiative Trust, Objectivity, Freedom, Tradition (DOST), former ODS members (incl. Michal Doktor and Boris Šťastny), and conservative independent politicians. The political program duplicates the previous program of SBB, which include the following points: Disengage Czech Republic from the obligation to adopt the euro, strengthen traditional family support, avoid limiting citizen activities due to badly designed laws, and avoid implementing a budgetary debt brake law with strict limitations for national debt.
- LIDEM deputy leader Dagmar Navratilova, stated her party will most likely try to form a partnership with another party for the early elections. Former party leader Karolína Peake, confirmed she would continue being a party member, but recommended that the party should not participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, but instead focus to do well and establish itself in next years municipal elections and the European Parliament election. After three weeks consideration, the party made the decision not to participate in the parliamentary elections, but allow their members instead to run for the center-right party SSCR.
- Freeholders Party of Czech Republic (SSCR) is a conservative centre-right party led by Rostislav Senjuk, which was founded in 2008, and will participate in the upcoming elections independently in all 14 regions. Its election list will include members from other centre-right parties. On 10 September it was confirmed LIDEM members will join the SSCR election lists. The main campaign point of the party, is a declaration that the progressive tax and levies are unacceptable as they punish greater diligence and ability of privately employed citizens.
- Public Affairs (VV) has decided not to participate in the upcoming general elections. Some of its MPs, such as de facto leader Vít Bárta, will instead be standing on the election lists for the new Dawn party. This decision caused a split in the party's leadership, with three VV MPs - including vice president Michal Babák - deciding not to take part in such merger for the general elections and opting to resign from their party positions in protest. The three resigned VV MPs, announced they would continue being members of the party, but now focused only to run for VV in next years municipal elections and regional elections.
- Dawn leader Tomio Okamura, announced his party would be running the election independently in all regions, funded by his personal money. He stated it was not precluded that candidates from Public Affairs and other organisations could join his candidate lists, if they shared the values of his party. One of the party candidates, is the former ODS MP Radim Fiala. On top of its election campaign stands: Introduction of a presidential system of government, a responsible political system, social benefits only for those “who live an upright life”, stricter immigration policies, and to lower the VAT.
- Pro Sport and Health (PSZ) leader Josef Dobeš, has started negotiations for his party to join the election lists of the Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci (SPOZ). The main political objective of PSZ, is to promote greater funding for sporting activities. On 3 September, Dobeš announced he had resigned as chairman of PSZ, and that its committee had approved his proposal for the entire party to join SPOZ in the upcoming general elections.
- Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci (SPOZ) is being led by Zdeněk Štengl, and was founded in October 2009 by the former leader of ČSSD Miloš Zeman, as a new alternative social-democratic party to ČSSD. When Zeman was elected as Czech President in January 2013, he made a pledge not to interfere in party politics while serving the office, but SPOZ never-the-less still decided to use his name and political support actively in their electional campaign.
- LEV 21 – National Socialists (LEV 21-NS) was founded in October 2011, and is being led by the former leader of ČSSD Jiří Paroubek in conjunction with another former ČSSD MP Petr Benda. They present themselves to be a more serious and professional variant of ČSSD and SPOZ. In comparison with ČSSD, the LEV 21-NS party argue the public investments should be increased even more. On 1 September they presented a 20-point political program which included: Fight against political corruption with confiscation of illegal acquired assets; Change the procurement system to block the emergence of bribery and overpricing; Create new jobs through increased private and public investment; Restore indexation of pensions and wages of public employees; Lower prices for public services (water and sewerage, energy, banking fees, telephone and internet); Fight against economic crime; Implement a new Civil Service Act to combat political interference; Health care should be free of charge; Retirement age for people working in the toughest jobs should be lowered; Restoration of communal housing, social housing and cooperative housing; Accelerate the development of economically challenged regions, districts and localities to prevent social exclusion; Creation of municipal enterprises for the direct participation of citizens (for example on a cooperative basis); Improve living conditions for single parents, disabled persons and ensure proper protection of minorities; Zero VAT rate for children's shoes, clothing and books; Increase the corporate tax rate and the taxes on financial transactions, and restore the dividend tax; Promotion of sport at the youth and professional level; Adopt new laws that ensure more direct democracy through national referendums, and direct election of governors and mayors. In protest against not getting enough media coverage relative to the party's voter support according to SANEP polls, Jiří Paroubek decided on 13 September to withdraw his deputy candidature, while emphasizing LEV 21 would still participate in the elections with his full support - just with other candidates than himself.
- ANO 2011 leader Andrej Babiš stated the party will publish its political program by the end of August, and announced the party will run for election in all regions. The program will focus on fighting unemployment, improve the transport infrastructure, and abolition of the immunity and equity returns for politicians and their closest family members. Ideologically the party is placed at the center-right, share political similarities with KDU–ČSL, and only excludes any political collaboration with the Communist Party (KSČM).
- Pirates announced that they would focus on three principles: free access to information, democratic reform of the state, and education. They intended to elect a new chairman and publish a complete program on 7 September.
- Liberal-Environmental Party (LES), is a new party founded on 27 August 2013, being led by the former president of the Green Party (SZ) Martin Bursík. It was established in protest, when SZ opted to move into a more centre-left position, instead of staying at the centre of the political spectrum. The steering committee of the party also count former environment minister Ladislav Miko, civic activist Matěj Hollan, film director Olga Sommerová and environmentalist Ivan Rynda. The party's political program is among others supported by the Czech-American economist Jan Švejnar and the founder of the betting agency Fortuna - Michal Horáček. Because of a desire not to dilute the vote-percentage for other parties placed at the centre or centre-right, to something below the 5% election threshold, the party started negotiations to join the KDU–ČSL election lists. When these negotiations failed, the party decided not to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
- Roma Democratic Party (RDS), is a new strongly left-wing party led by Miroslav Tancoš. The party was founded in August 2013, in order to give the 250,000 Czech Romanies - equal to 2.5% of the Czech population - a political voice. Their political program focus to promote the interests of the poor and needing part of the Roma community, in particular they want to improve the support for single mothers, pensioners, the ill, the unemployed, and ensure Roma children gets equal access for education in elementary schools. As of 3 September, the party had gathered enough candidates to run in 4 regions, and through advertisement for additional candidates they still hoped being able to run in all of the 14 Czech regions. Tancoš stated the party was not only working to improve conditions for the Roman minority, but emphasized they also wanted to work actively to help find solutions to the political and economic problems facing the Czech Republic.
- Party of Free Citizens (SSO) announced its manifesto: slim state, dissolution of 26 offices, proclamation of referendum about leaving the European Union, citizens' veto and restriction of bureaucracy. The election motto says Less of state, more to citizens! (Méně státu, více občanům!).
|TOP 09||55,000,000 Kč|
|29 May 2010||Previous election||22.08||20.22||16.70||11.27||10.88||4.39||4.33||3.67||2.44||1.14||0.80||-||2.85||62.6|
|10 September 2013||TNS Aisa||28.0||9.5||13.0||15.5||5.5||4.5||5.5||<2||5.0||2.0||7.0||4.5|
|11 September 2013||Médea||27.4||9.9||10.2||15.7||9.1||4.7||4.1||1.6||3.2||2.0||13.1||1.0||70.0|
|12 September 2013||Sanep||26.2||9.9||13.9||16.2||3.7||5.2||6.9||3.3||6.1||9.8||56.2|
|16 September 2013||STEM||30.0||11.0||12.0||15.0||2.3||5.5||7.4||1.0||2.7||1.3||7.7||3.3||59.0|
|19 September 2013||ppm factum||26.2||8.0||13.8||16.7||2.5||6.7||5.1||1.7||2.3||10.9||6.1||52.7|
|24 September 2013||CVVM||30.5||7.0||12.5||19.5||2.5||4.5||5.5||2.0||14.0||2.0||62.0|
|26 September 2013||TNS Aisa||29.0||9.0||10.5||14.5||5.0||5.5||4.0||3.0||11.0||8.0|
|27 September 2013||STEM||28.0||12.5||11.0||17.0||2.5||5.5||5.5||1.0||3.3||10.0||4.1||65.0|
|6 October 2013||TNS Aisa||29.0||8.5||9.5||11.0||4.5||6.5||5.0||3.5||13.0||9.5|
|13 October 2013||TNS Aisa||28.5||6.5||11.0||12.5||5.0||6.0||4.5||3.5||2.0||12.5||8.0|
|14 October 2013||ppm factum||22.8||7.2||13.2||17.1||3.7||5.9||4.7||<2||3.7||<2||<2||12.1||9.6||62.6|
|16 October 2013||Médea||22.2||5.5||9.6||11.8||8.2||6.2||3.7||2.9||2.3||3.1||16.9||7.7||71.0|
|18 October 2013||STEM||25.9||8.6||11.5||13.3||5.9||4.5||2.6||1.0||2.6||0.7||3.1||16.1||4.2||67.0|
|19 October 2013||Median||25.5||8.0||13.0||16.0||4.0||6.0||5.0||3.0||2.0||13.0||2.0||60.0|
|20 October 2013||TNS Aisa||23.0||7.0||10.5||14.0||6.0||6.0||4.0||3.0||2.5||16.0||8.0|
|21 October 2013||CVVM||26.0||6.5||9.0||18.0||5.0||5.0||3.5||2.0||2.5||16.5||6.0||63.0|
|21 October 2013||Sanep||23.8||7.5||11.9||16.9||5.3||5.7||5.2||3.5||3.1||11.6||5.5||59.3|
Conduct of the election
According to a random draw carried out by the State Election Committee, the Czechs voting abroad, due to a lack of permanent residency in this country, will be choosing from candidates running in the Central Bohemian Region. This is a change from the last two general elections, where the random draw selected the South Bohemian Region to be open for votes from abroad.
|Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD)||1,016,829||20.46||–1.62||50||–6|
|ANO 2011 (ANO)||927,240||18.66||New||47||New|
|Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM)||741,044||14.91||+3.64||33||+7|
|Civic Democratic Party (ODS)||384,174||7.73||–12.50||16||–37|
|Dawn of Direct Democracy (ÚSVIT)||342,339||6.89||New||14||New|
|Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party (KDU-ČSL)||336,970||6.78||+2.39||14||+14|
|Green Party (SZ)||159,025||3.20||+0.74||0||0|
|Czech Pirate Party (PIRÁTI)||132,417||2.66||+1.86||0||0|
|Party of Free Citizens (SVOBODNÍ)||122,564||2.47||+1.75||0||0|
|Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci (SPOZ)||75,113||1.51||–2.82||0||0|
|Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS)||42,906||0.86||–0.24||0||0|
|Political Change Movement (Změna)||28,592||0.58||New||0||New|
|Cheer up - voting bloc (HV)||21,241||0.43||New||0||New|
|Sovereignty - common sense party (SSZR)||13,538||0.27||–3.40||0||0|
|Freeholders Party of Czech Republic (SSCR)||13,041||0.26||New||0||New|
|The Crown of Bohemia (KČ)||8,932||0.18||+0.11||0||0|
|LEV 21 – National Socialists (LEV 21-NS)||3,843||0.08||New||0||New|
|Active independent citizens (ANEO)||1,237||0.02||New||0||New|
|Vote for Right Block www.cibulka.net (PB)||1,225||0.02||New||0||0|
|Roma Democratic Party (RDS)||609||0.01||New||0||New|
|CITIZENS 2011 (OBČANÉ 2011)||455||0.01||New||0||New|
|Club of Committed Non-Party Members (KAN)||293||0.00||+0.00||0||New|
The Social Democrats (ČSSD) have said they were open to talking to all parties about the formation of a government. ANO leader Babis said he could conceive of supporting a Social Democrat-led government (either a coalition with the Social Democrats, ANO and ODS, or ANO staying in opposition but agreeing to supporting a minority government led by the Social Democrats), but that this is not his priority and he opposes the Social Democrats' proposals for tax increases. He also indicated that he would seek to be Minister of Finance in any coalition cabinet.
Immediately after the elections, two unofficial factions arose in the ČSSD, one supporting present chairman Bohuslav Sobotka and the other being led by Michal Hašek, ČSSD's leader in Moravia. Hasek, with support from president Miloš Zeman, issued a statement calling for Bohuslav Sobotka to resign his post as party chairman. ČSSD's leadership have already appointed Hašek as the lead negotiator in coalition talks due to take place with other parties. Only a few days previously, Michal Hašek had proclaimed his loyalty to Sobotka, and acknowledged him as the only leader of ČSSD. ČSSD members have organized meetings and rallies against Hašek, and Sobotka has compared Hašek to Fierlinger, ČSSD's pro-Communist leader from 1948 who forced the party to collaborate with the Communist regime. Sobotka has the support of Jiří Dienstbier Jr., the party's most recent presidential candidate, while Hašek has the support of prominent party figures Jeroným Tejc and Lubomír Zaorálek. According to opinion polls, the situation is perceived by the public as an attempted leadership coup. Later, Hašek and his allies, because of popular and party support for Bohuslav Sobotka, resigned on many positions and lost much influence within the ČSSD. A new negotiation government-formation team has been created, led by Bohuslav Sobotka, in order to negotiate with ANO and KDU-ČSL.
On 11 November, the Social Democrats began coalition talks with ANO and Christian Democratic Union - Czechoslovak People Party. All of these parties agreed on progressive taxation, abolition of past government social reforms and a law about property origin. However, the Social democrats still disagree with KDU-ČSL concerning church restitutions.
In late December, leaders of ČSSD, ANO and KDU-ČSL announced that they had agreed on a coalition government. The coalition agreement was signed on 6 January 2014. ČSSD, ANO and KDU-ČSL also presented a list of ministers. ČSSD have eight ministries, ANO seven ministries and KDU-ČSL three ministries. The leader of ČSSD, Bohuslav Sobotka, will be prime minister. The leader of ANO, Andrej Babiš, will be deputy prime minister and minister of finance. The leader of KDU-ČSL, Pavel Bělobrádek will be second deputy Prime Minister. Bohuslav Sobotka's Cabinet was sworn in on 29 January 2014.
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