Friday, 19 July 2019

Právo: ANO to spend record 150 million on autumn elections

20 July 2018

Prague, July 19 (CTK) - The Czech government ANO movement plans to spend the record 150 million crowns on its campaign before the autumn local and Senate elections, which is much more than other parties and 2.5 times more than ANO earmarked for the previous elections of this kind in 2014, daily Pravo wrote on Thursday.

The opposition right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) put their election budget at some 40 million crowns and the junior government Social Democrats (CSSD) want to spend only ten million crowns because of the party's bad financial situation.

The Czech law does not limit the parties' spending on campaign for the elections to some 6300 town halls, unlike the election to the Chamber of Deputies, for which it sets the limit of 90 million crowns. As far as the Senate election is concerned, each candidate can spend up to two million crowns on the first round and another 0.5 million on the campaign before the second round.

"ANO will naturally observe the obligatory caps for the Senate elections. However, we have the total election budget of some 150 million," ANO chief election manager and MP Jan Richter told Pravo.

In 2014, ANO spent 65 million crowns on its campaign for the previous elections to local authorities and one-third of the Senate, while its costs of the last October general election amounted to 83 million.

The ANO candidates will lead primarily a door-to-door campaign in the streets to meet voters, but the movement will also use billboards and advertisements on the Internet and in the press, Richter added.

ANO, a clear winner of the last autumn general election, scored success in the previous local elections and filled posts at town halls in all major towns. However, it has only six mandates in the 81-seat Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, compared to its 78 MPs in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, the lower house.

ANO will run in all 27 Senate wards contested.

The CSSD must spare money as it ended up with a 40-million-crown deficit last year. Moreover, it lost a major part of state contributions for votes and mandates last year as it gained only 7.3 percent of the vote and 15 MPS in the Chamber of Deputies .

"The CSSD will spend up to ten million crowns on its campaign for the autumn elections," its spokesman Petr Vurbs told Pravo, while CSSD economic manager Matin Starec counted with about 24 million in the spring.

The strongest opposition right-wing Civic Democrats will also have to cut down their expenses. ODS spokeswoman Jana Havelkova said the overall campaign expenditures cannot be calculated as yet.

ODS deputy group head Zbynek Stanjura expects the party's regional organisations to contribute with 20 to 30 million crowns, while some 12 million are to be spent on the Senate elections.

The Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) headquarters will release five million crowns for the Senate election, 1.2 million for the local ones and another one million for the election campaign in Prague. The KDU-CSL local branches must gain the rest themselves.

The Pirates, who do not conceal their ambition to win in Prague, will give two million crowns from the party's centre to the election campaign, while their regional branches will add the rest. The Prague Pirate organisation plans to spend three million crowns on the election.

The anti-EU ultra-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) plans to invest 25 million crowns in its campaign before the Senate and local elections, which is similar to its budget for the general election.

The Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement will allocate 15 million crowns to the local election and 2.5 million to the Senate election, but the figures are not final, STAN spokesman Tomas Pergl said.

TOP 09 will spend 5.5 million on its pre-election presentation in municipalities and it will support its candidates for the Senate with three million crowns.

The Communists (KSCM) project their overall election costs at 11.5 million crowns and they will rely mainly on direct contacts with voters in towns and villages during the campaign, KSCM spokesman Robert Kvacskai told Pravo.

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