Czech voters sent representatives from the ruling ANO party, fascist and communists to the European parliament at the European Union (EU) elections at the weekend.
A total of 21 representatives were elected of which Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ ANO party took a total of 6 seats. Other MEPs included ODS (Civic Democrats, 4 seats), STAN + TOP09 (3 seats), Pirates (3 seats), neo-fascist party of anti-EU Tomio Okamura (2 seats), Christian Democrats (2 seats) and Communists (1 seat). Social Democrats (CSSD) suffered a defeat, not securing a single seat, according to data published by the Czech Statistics Office on May 26.
“28.72% voters came to polling stations, i.e. more than in the year 2014, when the turnout reached 18.2%. The highest turnout was in the municipality of Cila, where 90.00% voters came to polling stations. The lowest turnout was in the municipality of Vresova, where 8.63% came to polling stations,” said the President of the Czech Statistical Office Marek Rojicek. The turnout is the third lowest in the EU, followed by Slovenia and Slovakia, however, the highest in Czech history.
“For Andrej Babis, the result will be disappointing. The movement failed to mobilize its voters despite the massive campaign,” said political scientist Daniel Kunstat of the Cevro Institute, as quoted by daily E15.cz. ANO leader in the European Parliament elections, former MEP Dita Charanzova, said she hopes that the Czech Republic will receive a stronger portfolio in the European Commission than justice, consumer protection and gender equality for the next five years. “I hope we take a lesson from the past and will do our best,“ she said for daily E15.cz interview.
According to political scientist Lubomir Kopecek of Masaryk University in Brno, CSSD result (3.95%) indicates that the party has a huge problem. “It has been a defeat in every election for them,” he said. However, he does not think that it would have any influence on the current government coalition of ANO and CSSD. “Breaking the current government coalition, based on results of European elections, would be impossible as they [ANO] would admit that decision to go with them [CSSD] to the government coalition was wrong,” said Kopecek.
“This is a tough punch. We couldn’t attract voters with the right topic, we didn’t wake up the power of social democracy. We had a number of experienced politicians and young people on the ballot, now it's important that they don't give up. Our restart must be more secure and stronger, now we will focus on the regional elections, which are crucial,“ said CSSD chairman and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, Hospodarske Noviny reported, adding that he does not plan to resign. Five years ago, CSSD received 14.17% of votes.
“The goal of our campaign was a bit more ambitious, potential of pirates to receive 20% was expected,“ said chairman of Pirates Ivan Bartos, adding that the main goal of the party will now be to link domestic policy with that of Europe and to help Czech citizens better understand what is happening in Europe.
According to the chairman of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) Tomia Okamura, the results are exactly as the party planned. It can be seen that SPD and its program have a firm place on the Czech political scene, he added.
“The Czech Republic will be represented by 14 men and 7 women in the European Parliament. The average age of elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is 46 years. The oldest MEP is 66 years old and the youngest is 26,” concluded the First Vice President of the Czech Statistical Office Eva Krumpova.