Czechia: Results of EU Elections 2019

Left KSČM gains only one seat (-2), missing a few tenths of a percent more to get a second MEP. Social Democrats fall out of European Parliament.

Voter turnout at historic high (since 2004):   28,72 % (2014 – 18,2 %)

This year, 39 entities (2014 – 38) were admitted to the European elections (from 40), with 841 candidates (2014 – 857 persons);

Number of MEPs represented the Czech Republic: 21

  • ANO 2011 – Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (Czech: Akce nespokojených občanů, ANO). “Ano” means “yes” in Czech; a centrist political party in the Czech Republic (Result in 2014 – 16,13 %)
  • ODS – Civic Democratic Party (Czech: Občanská demokratická strana, ODS), a liberal-conservative political party in the Czech Republic
  • TOP 09 (name derived from Tradice Odpovědnost Prosperita, meaning “Tradition Responsibility Prosperity) is a liberal-conservative political party in the Czech Republic
  • KSČM    Communist party of Bohemia and Moravia. Radical left party  (Result in 2014 – 10,98 %)
  • KDU-ČSL – Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party (Czech: Křesťanská a demokratická unie – Československá strana lidová, KDU–ČSL, a Christian-democratic political party in the Czech Republic.
  • Piráti –The Czech Pirate Party (Czech: Česká pirátská strana) or Pirates (Czech: Piráti) is a liberal, centrist political party (with some of slightly left tendencies) in the Czech Republic
  • ČSSD – The Czech Social Democratic Party (Czech: Česká strana sociálně demokratická, ČSSD) is a social-democratic political party in the Czech Republic  (Result in 2014 – 14,17 %)
  • SPD – Freedom and Direct Democracy – Tomio Okamura (Czech: Svoboda a přímá demokracie – Tomio OkamuraSPD) is a hard Eurosceptic, anti-immigration, pro-direct democracy political party in the Czech Republic

Of the 840 candidates, 33.9% were without political affiliation, 23.9% were women. The oldest candidate –  82 years old, 9 youngest ones – 21 years old, Structure: aged 21 – 29 years: 9.63%, 30 – 49 years: 46.4%;  over 50 years: 44.0% candidates. There were 839 Czechs and 1 Slovak. 4 candidates were Roma origin (Slovakia – 20 Roma).

 

Results
Party  Result (%) MEPs
ANO 21,2 6
ODS 14,5 3
Piráti 14,0 3
STAN+TOP 09 11,7 3
SPD 9,1 2
KDU-ČSL 7,2 2
KSČM           6,9 1
ČSSD 4,0 0

 

Domestic Issues Dominant in Election Campaigns

Euroelection in the Czech Republic reflected mainly the internal political situation and internal political issues. The Czech society has been polarised in the last period (about 2 years). The dividing line is not a right-left division, but other factors – security, relationship to other culturally religious entities, migration, economic relations within the EU – the Czech Republic as a semi periphery, dual quality food, “dictation” from Brussels (including migration quotas) etc.

Attitudes towards the perspective of European integration, the relationship with the Russian Federation, China, NATO and militarisation of EU were also intensified. EU subsidies were also discussed in the framework of the policy of coherence, aid to regions in the EU The Czech Republic received CZK 760 billion (exchange rate CZK 25.8 / €) from accession (2004), but only from 2007 left the Czech Republic (up to and including 2017 ) in dividends and profits earned on 2512.4 billion CZK by foreign owners, mostly in the EU (foreign owners own 37% of the registered capital in the Czech Republic).

Most of the established political parties and movements in the election campaign did not make significant efforts, and the election campaign was primarily linked to the resolution of domestic political conflicts. This year’s elections have further strengthened the tendency that it is not a clash of ideological and programmatic concepts, but a clash of different concepts of political marketing.

This year, key candidate subjects from sociological analyzes have identified similar main themes, so that, at the end of the election campaign, the candidates were more closely related to each other – security issues, securing Czech national interests (including economic) within the European Union, defending European borders, limiting “dictation” and bureaucracy from Brussels, the rejection of the Euro by majority of parties, the dual quality of food, the fight against drought and agricultural subsidies, unjustified pay gap compared to Western European countries  etc.

Domestic issues appear to be key issues. This is preferred by about a third of respondents (35%) over EU-related topics, which are preferred by only one tenth of respondents (10%). However, for about half of the respondents (49%), both domestic and European Union issues are important. Women are more likely to focus on home topics than men. In terms of sympathy for each party, home themes are less important for voters of the Pirates. ANO, university degree education and Prague residents attribute the same importance to domestic and European topics more often than other respondents.

 

Attitude towards EU

The latest survey (STEM) showed that 32% of the population have a positive attitude towards the EU in the Czech Republic (critically neutral 42%; negative 27%). But most EU citizens are not interested in the EU elections. Therefore, these elections are not expected to have a significant impact on the domestic political scene. Rather, it will be confirmation of existing trends, or strengthening or weakening some parties and movements.

Almost two fifths of Czech citizens (37%) express their satisfaction with the Czech Republic’s membership of the European Union and more than a quarter (26%) is dissatisfied. (CVVM)

Expressing satisfaction or dissatisfaction with European Union membership is related to age, education and living standards. Young people show the highest level of satisfaction, which gradually decreases with increasing age and dissatisfaction increases. On the contrary, as the level of educational attainment increases, satisfaction with EU membership is growing. Among people with a good standard of living in their household, the proportion of satisfied (46%) prevails over dissatisfied (21%). In the case of respondents who refer to the standard of living of their household as “neither good nor bad”, both shares are almost equal (28% satisfied, 26% dissatisfied) and dissatisfaction prevails among the subjectively assessed living standards of their households (14% satisfied, 53% dissatisfied). (CVVM)

We can find a greater share of satisfied among students and managers, pensioners and the unemployed are more dissatisfied. Greater satisfaction was also found in the population of large towns (over 80,000 inhabitants), including Prague, respondents who, on the scale of political orientation, rank themselves to the right or right centre, voters of ODS, TOP 09, STAN and Pirates and respondents interested about politics. Dissatisfaction was somewhat more common among respondents from the South Bohemian Region, respondents ranking unequivocally to the left, as regards of parties, mainly to the SPD and KSČM voters, and among the decisive non-voters.

More than 60 percent of Czechs perceive the Czech Republic’s accession to the European Union positively in 15 years past. Thirty percent of respondents perceive accession to the European Union negatively, with Euro-sceptics being the most among voters of left-wing parties and those who do not.

 

The Left

Two subjects participated in these Czech elections, which can be characterised as leftist – ČSSD and KSČM. The KSČM candidate list was more broadly left-wing, not just Communist candidates. It also reflected its subtitle – The Czech Left Together. There were 22 members of the KSČM, 3 members of the SDS, 1 member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and 1 non-party. (ČSSD candidate list – 27 party members, 1 non-party). This voting list is one of youngest one according to an average age.

There was an effort to integrate the widest possible spectrum of the left. Some left-wing activists have refused to personally participate in the “communist” candidate or publicly support it. However, even today’s reality means a qualitative shift in the formation of a broader left-wing coalition – bringing together both communist and non-communist forces.

Programmatically, this voting list of CPBM is not against the EU, but is very critical of the EU. It calls for fundamental reforms (Lisbon treaty). It criticises the militarisation of the EU, anti-NATO, the policy of sanctions, and the promotion of the interests of multinational corporations. The European Union project must be democratised and socialised. In relation to EURO-implementation a position of CPBM candidate list is negative (but the most of other parties that run for MEPs are against, too). The development and enforcement of binding standards for nature, landscape and consumer protection must be one of the European Union’s priorities-CPBM and partners election program.

The Communist candidate partnership includes two entities that are integrated in the European Left Party. However, this fact has little to do with the election campaign. The reason was political tactics, where European left-wing topics have little reflection in Czech conditions. Therefore, the policy of left-wing “Spitzen candidates” was not found in the Czech left-wing campaign.

 

Conclusions

European election in the Czech Republic turned out as it was realistically expected. No any big surprises! But The Czech Left has lost, especially the CSSD – social democrats (0 MEP!). Only Kateřina Konečná, the former MEP for the KSCM, was elected to the EP again. The results achieved by the other parties were essentially foreseeable, but for a better than expected result achieved by ODS. If the Czech Left wants to change the negative trend, it will have to open a debate on both strategic and tactical issues. There is to see in the coming weeks how individual protagonists stand up to this discussion.