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LN: Regional polls make ANO nervous before 2017 election

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Prague, Nov 15 (CTK) – Czech regions reflect national sentiments and Finance Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO movement has a reason for being nervous before the general election next year, Josef Mlejnek Jr writes about the situation after the October regional elections in daily Lidove noviny (LN) yesterday.
He writes that the post-election negotiations have probably ended and only now is it possible to say who won and who lost even though not all regional governors have as yet been elected and though certain sudden changes cannot be ruled out in the negotiated coalitions.
The two major rivals, ANO and the senior government Social Democratic Party (CSSD) each has five regional governors though ANO won in nine out of 13 regions and the CSSD in only two.
One governor is a member of the Communist Party (KSCM), one of the junior government Christian Democratic Party (KDU-CSL), and one is a member of the Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement, Mlejnek writes.
He writes that in five regions, ANO and the CSSD will have a joint government. In four regions, which will be headed by an ANO or CSSD governor, the two parties are represented in the regional coalition. In addition, both parties take part in the team of Liberec governor Martian Puta, a member of the Mayors for the Liberec Region. Each ANO and the CSSD take part in five regional governments.
The rightist opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) was relatively successful though it has no governor, but it is represented in ten regional councils, Mlejnek writes.
STAN has one governor and various regional variations of it are represented in eight regional councils, Mlejnek writes.
The KDU-CSL, which is sometimes called a second winner of the regional elections along with ANO, has one governor, representatives in two regional governments and it is represented in three coalitions that entered regional governments, Mlejnek writes.
In some regions, the ruling coalitions are peculiar, but regional politics is in fact non-ideological also because of its limited regional powers, Mlejnek writes.
He writes that in fact, national political sentiments are decisive in the regional elections. The governors who work hard, but their parties are losing nationally, may not succeed, while persons who did not do much in regional politics, may become governors because their parties are doing well nationally.
Babis has called the coalition in the Usti Region formed by the KSCM, CSSD and the Citizens’ Rights Party-Party of Direct Democracy (SPO-SPD) a result of dirty work, Mlejnek writes.
He writes that ANO offered the Communists the post of governor in a joint coalition, but they eventually preferred the above coalition.
This and other similar developments can be explained quite practically, even with a paraphrase of the words of billionaire businessman Babis that he would manage the state as a firm, “I manage the region as a firm,” Mlejnek writes.
In elections, voters actually only award shares to party representatives, which is followed by a backstage general meeting. It makes a decision on the holders of the “control package,” Mlejnek writes.
He writes that even a person who keeps an estimable 49 percent can eventually leave empty-handed, which Babis undoubtedly knows well from his business.
The unwritten rule that the election winner, who in practice only holds a relative majority of the vote, or seats in the regional assembly, has the right to become the prime minister or regional governor, has not been honoured four times in the regions, always to the detriment of ANO, Mlejnek writes.
It could pragmatically be asked why the above rule should be applied at all if the needed majority can be put together differently, Mlejnek writes.
ms/t/hol

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