Friday, 25 April 2014

Analysts surprised by KSČM's victory in polls

15 October 2012

Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) - Political analysts, addressed by CTK yesterday, mainly pointed to the the rise in the Communists' (KSCM) support as an expression of the escalating tension in society in their commentaries on the results of the Czech regional and Senate elections.

The pressure exerted on the government and the tension in the senior ruling Civic Democrats (ODS) will increase, the analysts agreed.

They said the victory of the Social Democrats (CSSD) was expected. However, they consider the success of the KSCM as well as the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) a real surprise.

A crushing majority of votes in all constituencies has been counted.

The Social Democrats are winning in nine out of the 13 regions, the KSCM in two and the ODS and the Mayors for Liberec Region movement in one region each.

The CSSD has also won in the first round of the polls to one-third of the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

The CSSD and KSCM have chance of winning the three-fifth constitutional majority in the Senate fro which they need to gain at least 15 seat out of the 25 constituencies in which their candidates advanced to the second round to be held in a week.

Political analyst Vladimira Dvorakova said a number of people traditionally use regional elections to send a message to the government. But the very good results of the Communists show that Czech voters decided to sent a really strong signal to the government as they are very dissatisfied, she added.

On the other hand, Dvorakova does not think that the ODS's fiasco in the regional and Senate polls means that PM and ODS chairman Petr Necas must resign. However, she admitted, this is considerably weakening his position both as the head of the government and the ODS.

The polls' results of TOP 09 and STAN (Mayors and Independents) may make the STAN leaders consider whether the alliance with TOP 09 is still perspective for them, Dvorakova noted.

Her colleague Bohumil Dolezal said he thinks that there is no reason for the government's departure over the regional elections but the pressure on the cabinet will intensify. Moreover, the disunion in the ODS will significantly deepen, he added.

A group of the ODS deputies refuses to support the government tax package that Necas's cabinet considers crucial for its budget strategy.

The ODS "rebels" will use the poor election results as an argument in favour of their opinions, Dolezal said.

Political scientist Jan Outly told CTK that there is no clear election winner. Though the Social Democrats won the elections they have lost support since the regional polls four years ago in which they won in all 13 regions, he recalled.

"The KSCM could be considered the winner, but on the other hand, it is thereby losing its advantageous position of a protest party," Outly said, adding that the Communists would have to assume part of political responsibility, which they probably did not want.

On the other hand, the ODS is a clearly defeated party. Besides, this is Necas's personal defeat as the Civic Democrats won only in the Plzensky region, west Bohemia, where the candidates' list was headed by Jiri Pospisil whom Necas recently sacked from the government, Outly said.

According to him, disputes in the ODS are more serious than four years ago when the party was headed by Necas's predecessor Mirek Topolanek.

"The Communists can really celebrate the success but the Christian Democrats can be pleased, too, to a certain extent. This result... may help them return to parliamentary politics," analyst Tomas Lebeda said.

He agreed with the statement by CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka saying the elections reflected people's disagreement with the government reforms.

"If you have a right-wing government during a deepening economic crisis and increasing unemployment, it is logical that support for the left is rising," Lebeda said.

He added that the current government, which assumed office in mid-2010, should get the whole four-year tenure but it might not manage to survive so long as it has problems to keep majority support in the Chamber of Deputies .

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