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KDU-ČSL, STAN confirm their coalition despite unfavourable polls

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Velehrad, South Moravia, July 4 (CTK) – The coalition of the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) will continue, the heads of the two parties said on Tuesday after a KDU-CSL board meeting that talked about opinion polls indicating that the coalition would fail in elections.

The general election is due on October 20-21. The KDU-CSL is a junior government party, STAN is an opposition movement.

“We have a few more months and we are ready for it,” KDU-CSL leader Pavel Belobradek told journalists.

The situation is a challenge for the alliance to show that it is a force that is worth to be win people’s support, Belobradek said.

Four different polls conducted last month indicated that the KDU/STAN alliance would win from 7.5 to 9 percent of the vote, while a two-party alliance needs at least 10 percent to enter the Chamber of Deputies. If the KDU-CSL ran alone, it would comfortably cross the 5-percent barrier for individual parties, the polls showed.

KDU-CSL senator Jiri Cunek, governor of the Zlin Region, said it seems to him that the coalition project should be cancelled.

Cunek said the cooperation was a good idea, but the STAN should support the KDU-CSL. In other words, all STAN politicians would run on the KDU-CSL lists of candidates and the 5-percent threshold would apply to the two cooperating parties, he said.

Jiri Carbol, head of the KDU-CSL branch in Moravia-Silesia, shares this view. However, the leaders of other regional branches do not seem worried about the results of the polls.

STAN leader Petr Gazdik and Belobradek said in previous elections, too, the polls were giving parties lower support than that they eventually gained. Unfavourable results of opinion polls should not be overestimated, they added.

Belobradek said the coalition of course paid attention to the polls, however, election results nearly always differed from the predictions made several months before the elections.

Before the 2013 general election, polls were saying Andrej Babis’s ANO movement would only gain 1 percent of the vote, but it eventually received 18 percent, he said. Some polls before the 2013 general election also showed that the KDU-CSL would fail in the election, but it succeeded, he added.

Belobradek said the coalition has not yet launched the intensive campaigning and voters still do not know its programme and candidates well.

Gazdik said voters still do not understand why the two parties made an election pact. He said parties that win over 10 percent of the vote get markedly more mandates than the smaller ones because the electoral system is more advantageous for bigger parties.

If people do not want Babis to rule the country together with some extremist party, for example the Communists (KSCM), they should support the KDU/STAN coalition, Gazdik said.

The polls showed that ANO and the KSCM would be able to form a government if elections were held now.

The KDU/STAN is to submit its lists of election candidates by August 16. “We have been analysing these trends. In any case, the coalition agreement is in force and we are not planning any change now,” Gazdik said.

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