Sunday, May 30, 2010

2010 Parliamentary Elections

This was a big election weekend here. Czechs voted on Friday and Saturday for the 200 seats in the Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies – the lower house. Yeah, they get two days to vote. But from what I understand, they really don’t have the option of absentee ballots.

There is a party-list proportional representation election system here and deputies are elected to four-year terms. But if a party doesn’t get at least 5% of the vote then they don’t get a seat.

Voter turnout was at 61% and this was the second lowest voter turnout since the communist government fell in 1989. This was also the first time since the fall of communism that the communist party didn’t finish in the top 3. That's progress! Especially, since its only been 21 years since the Velvet Revolution.

Even though the ČSSD (Social Democrats) won the most seats with 56, they probably won't be in charge. It's expected that a coalition government will be formed between the ODS (Civic Democratic Party), TOP 09 (Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09), and VV (Public Affairs) parties.

Here's a quick guide to the parties here.

ČSSD is the Czech Social Democratic Party, left-wing

ODS (Civic Democratic Party) = “liberal conservatives”, right-wing

TOP 09 = pro-European conservatives. Founded in June 2009 as a right-wing split from the KDU–ČSL.

VV (Věci veřejné) is a center-right party.

KSČM is the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. It’s interesting that they haven’t dropped the communist title from its name. Every other party in former Iron Curtain countries got rid of the word “communist”. Way left-wing.

KDU–ČSL is the Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party. They lost membership to the new TOP 09 party. In 2006, they had 7.2% and 13 seats. Now they dropped to 4.4% and lost all of their seats because they don’t have the minimum 5%.

Strana zelených (Green Party) lost their seats due to the 5% minimum rule.

There has been major campaigning going on for the last several months. Not that ignorance is bliss or anything, but I have to admit that it was kind of nice to have an election going on and not have to hear (understand) all of the rhetoric. I know that I should care more about Czech politics since I live here but it's not like I can vote or anything. At least I can still vote in the USA via absentee ballots and I don't have to listen to endless mudslinging.


  1. There are absentee ballots. Fun fact: at the Vatican city won KDU-ČSL with 100% of total 3 (three :) votes.

  2. I totally agree with you Chris on the sheer pleasure of getting to ignore all of the election rhetoric. I wonder if the Greens losing all of their seats is related to the time two Green ministers switched sides thereby bringing down the government of the Czech Republic right in the middle of the EU Presidency and a couple of days before Barack Obama came to visit? I'm also still fascinated that 11% or more of the population could vote for a party labeled "Communist" when you hear all of the horror stories about communist times.

  3. Karen: Voters of the Communists are mostly people, who were communists in "these" times.

    Czechoslovak communist party had about 2 millions members in eighties, although many of them was there for "practical" reasons.