Civic Democratic Party (Czech Republic)

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Civic Democratic Party
Občanská demokratická strana
Abbreviation ODS
Leader Petr Fiala
Founded 21 April 1991 (1991-04-21)
Preceded by Civic Forum
Headquarters Truhlářská 9, Prague
Newspaper Right Riverbank
Think tank CEVRO
Liberal Conservative Academy[1]
Youth wing Young Conservatives
Membership  (April 2016) 14,123[2]
Ideology Liberal conservatism[3]
Political position Centre-right[5]
to Right-wing[6][7][8]
European affiliation Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European Parliament group European Conservatives and Reformists
Colours      Blue
Chamber of Deputies
16 / 200
10 / 81
European Parliament
2 / 21
Regional councils
76 / 675
Local councils
2,398 / 62,300

The Civic Democratic Party (Czech: Občanská demokratická strana, ODS) is a liberal-conservative[9][10] political party in the Czech Republic. It holds 16 seats in the Chamber of Deputies after being marginalized in the 2013 legislative election.

Founded in 1991 as the pro-free market wing of the Civic Forum by Václav Klaus and modelled on the British Conservative Party.[11][12] The ODS won the 1992 legislative election, and has remained in government for most of the Czech Republic's independence. From every elections of Chamber of Deputies until 2013 it emerged as one of the two strongest parties. Václav Klaus served as the first Prime Minister of the Czech Republic after partition of Czechoslovakia, from 1993 to 1997. Mirek Topolánek, who succeeded him as leader of the party in December 2002, served as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2009. In the 2010 election, the party lost 28 seats, finishing second, but as the largest party right of the centre, it formed a centre-right government with Petr Nečas as Prime Minister. In the 2013 legislative election, the party was marginalized by only securing 16 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, relegating the party to opposition since July 2013. The party is currently led by Petr Fiala, who was elected leader on a party convention in January 2014.

The ODS is a member of the International Democratic Union, Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR) and European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament.


Logo used until 2015


The party was founded in 1991 as one of two successors to the Civic Forum. The ODS represented followers of Václav Klaus, and was pro-free market, as opposed to the centrist Civic Movement. An agreement was reached to split the party into two at the Civic Forum Assembly on 23 February 1991. This was followed on 21 April by a formal declaration of a new party, and Klaus was elected its first President.[13] The party agreed to continue in coalition in the Czech government with the Civic Movement, but this collapsed in July 1991.

The Civic Democrats, who represented demands for a tighter Czechoslovak federation, began to organise in Slovakia.[14] Ahead of the 1992 election, the ODS ruled out an electoral alliance with the Liberal Democrats, but agreed to an alliance with Václav Benda's Christian Democratic Party (KDS) in order to boost its appeal to conservatives.[14] The ODS won the election, winning 66 seats (and the KDS another ten), and formed a centre-right coalition with the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) and the KDU-ČSL, with Klaus as Prime Minister.[15]

Dominant party[edit]

It was the dominant party in two coalition governments in the Czech Republic in 1992–1997, a majority administration (1992–96) and a short-lived minority government (1996–97).

On 2 June 1995, the ODS and KDS signed a merger agreement, which would come into effect on 18 March 1996, ahead of that year's election. However, at the election, whilst the ODS improved to 68 seats, its allies fell, leading to the government receiving only 99 seats: two short of a majority. Klaus continued with a minority government, relying on its acceptance by the Social Democratic Party (ČSSD).

In December 1997, allegations of the party receiving illegal donations and maintaining a secret slush fund caused the ODA and KDU-ČSL to withdraw from the coalition, and the government collapsed. Josef Tošovský was appointed caretaker, pending new elections in June 1998. Despite the scandal, Klaus was re-elected party chairman, and in January 1998, some legislators opposed to Klaus, led by Jan Ruml and Ivan Pilip, left the party in the so-called 'Sarajevo Assassination' and formed the Freedom Union (US).[16]

Opposition 1998 to 2006[edit]

At the elections, the ODS fell even further, to 63 seats, while the US won 19. Due to the split, the Freedom Union refused to support the ODS, preventing them from getting a majority, the US's executive also refused to support the ČSSD. As a result, on 9 July 1998, the ODS signed the Opposition Agreement, which pledged the party to provide confidence and maintain a ČSSD government under Miloš Zeman.[17] This agreement was then superseded by the more explicit 'Patent of Tolerance' in January 2000.[18]

In the 2002 legislative election, the party went from being the largest seat holder to being the second largest party in the Chamber of Deputies with 58 of 200 seats, and for the first time in its history, assumed the role of a true opposition party. Mirek Topolánek took over the party leadership. The former Czech president, Václav Klaus, has been the party's honorary president for his first term in the office. In the European Parliament elections in June 2004 and in Senate and regional assembly elections in November 2004 it received over 30% of the votes.

2006: Return to government[edit]

Leader of the Civic Democrats from 2002 until 2010, Mirek Topolánek led the party to an election victory in 2006 and became the party's first Prime Minister since 1997.

In the 2006 legislative election the ODS was the largest seat holder in the Chamber of Deputies with 81 seats. It formed a government in coalition with the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and the Green Party (SZ). The party suffered heavy losses in regional and Senate elections in 2008, losing all 12 regional governorships it had previously held.

The Cabinet had lost a no-confidence vote on 24 March 2009. The country was then governed by a newly formed caretaker Cabinet, which was nominated by ODS, ČSSD and SZ. Early elections were set for 9–10 October 2009 but were due to unexpected development in the Constitutional Court and House of Deputies postponed to May 2010.

Civic Democratic Party won the second place after Czech Social Democratic Party and formed a centre-right Government with TOP 09 and Public Affairs. Public Affairs split from government on 22 April 2012 but were replaced by LIDEM. Civic Democratic Party was the same year widely defeated in regional election as finished third overall and won only in the Plzeň region. Party also lost 2010 and 2012 Senate elections.

ODS nominated Přemysl Sobotka for president of the Czech Republic during 2013 election. Sobotka. Sobotka has received only 2.46% of votes and didn't qualify for second round. Ods has held presidential primaries prior the election which Sobotka won. Sobotka's poor showing in general election was caused by government's unpopularity and lack of support from party.[19] The party's leadership supported Karel Schwarzenberg in second round of the election.[20]

2013: Back in opposition[edit]

After resignation and fall of Cabinet of Prime Minister Petr Nečas ODS proposed Miroslava Němcová to the position of the Prime Minister to President Zeman saying that she will be able to form a coalition and succeed a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies. However, President Zeman refused to appoint her and called on early elections on 25–26 October 2013. ODS suffered heavy losses. It gained only 16 seats and finished 5th. The party also lost elections of the European parliament and of Senate and municipal in 2014.

Leader of the Civic Democratic Party Petr Fiala.

The 24th Congress of the Civic Democratic Party elected on 18–19 January 2014 a new leadership of ODS. The former rector of Masaryk University and minister Petr Fiala was elected as chairman and Member of the European Parliament Jan Zahradil as 1.vice-chairman. In his book Citizens, Democrats and Party members (Czech: Občané, demokraté a straníci) Fiala says that party needs to be attractive to new, young people and ODS shall have experts on economics, health care, education etc.

In the Chamber of Deputies ODS formed an informal relationship, coalition with TOP 09 and both have been opposing laws such as Control report of Value-added tax. On 26 May 2015, ODS, TOP 09 and Dawn of Direct Democracy called on unsuccessful vote of no confidence to Cabinet of Bohuslav Sobotka.

As of December 2015 opinion polls showed ODS with 8.6% nationwide.[21] Some polling agencies and political commentators are of the opinion that ODS is on the path to become main centre-right party again.[22][23][24]

On 16 January 2016, Fiala was re-elected as Leader of the ODS. ODS participated in 2016 regional and Senate election. It received about 10% of votes and its candidates secured seats in all regions. 6 candidates nominated by ODS qualified for second round for Senate. 4 of them were eventually elected Fiala then said that ODS returned to position of major right wing party.[25][26]


The ODS is liberal-conservative[27][28][29] and conservative-liberal,[30][31][32] supports economic liberalism,[33] and is Eurosceptic.[4][34]

The party's ideas are very close to those of the British Conservative Party, Swedish Moderate Party, and other liberal-conservative parties in Europe. The basic principles of the party's program are "low taxes, public finances and future without debts, support for families with children, addressable social system, reducing bureaucracy, better conditions for business, a safe state with the transatlantic links. No tricks and populism."

ODS opposes multiculturalism and believes that immigrants from different cultures should be accepted only if they respect Czech culture and learn Czech language and about history. ODS also supports fighting radical Islam which considers as dangerous as Nazism.[citation needed] ODS also opposes accepting Muslim customs such as wearing Burqas. Some wings in ODS are also less supportive of LGBT rights.[35][36][37]


Party structure[edit]

The highest body of the ODS is Congress which meets every year and elects leadership every two years. The party is led by the Executive Council and Republic Assembly in time between meetings of Congress. Executive body meets every Month and party is led by Panel between meetings of Executive Council. Panel consists of Party's Leader, Deputy Leaders and Chief Whips of the Parliamentary ODS.[38]

ODS is structured similarly to the structure of subdivision of the Czech Republic. The structure consists of local associations. Group of local associations forms area. Areas are organised as parts of Region. [39][40]


ODS had 18,500 Members in 1991. Number of members was growing along with party's influence and soon got over 23,000. It decreased during political crisis in 1998 to 16,000. Party stopped the decrease after preliminary election and membership was growing once again. It peaked in 2010 when it reached 31,011. The member base started to decline rapidly after 2010. It had only 17,994 members prior the 2013 election.[41] ODS had 14,771 members in May 2015 and the member base was stabilised according to leaders of the party.[42]

Young Conservatives[edit]

Young Conservatives (abbreviated MK) is a youth wing of ODS. Young people within the age from 15 to 35 apply for a membership in the MK. The founding congress of MK was held on 8 December 1991 as a result of previous preparations through Charter of Young Conservatives by a group of students at the University of Technology in Brno and Law Students' Association "Všehrd" from Faculty of Law at the Charles University. The Young Conservatives organize wide range of events from meetings with local or national politicians to elections campaigns and international events.

CEVRO Liberal Conservative Academy[edit]

CEVRO Liberal Conservative Academy is a think-tank affiliated with ODS. It was established in 1999. Its goal is political education which tries to spread liberal-conservative thinking. In 2005, CEVRO established its own private university known as CEVRO Institute. CEVRO has four newspapers - CEVRO Revue, The Week in European Politics, The Week in Czech Politics and Forthnightly.[43]

International organisations[edit]

ODS joined European Democrat Union (EDU) in 1992 as one of the first parties in former Eastern Bloc. Václav Klaus even became a Vice President of EDU. ODS remained in EDU until it became part of European People's Party (EPP) in 2002. ODS rejected to join EPP due to its ideological differences and instead became a member of European Democrats.[44]

ODS joined International Democrat Union (IDU) in 2001.[45] Chairmans of Civic Democratic Party served as Vice Presidents of IDU.

In July 2006, the Civic Democratic Party signed an agreement with the British Conservative Party to leave the European People's Party–European Democrats (EPP-ED) Group in the European Parliament and form the Movement for European Reform in 2009. On 22 June 2009, it was announced that ODS would join the newly formed European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) parliamentary group, an anti-federalist and Eurosceptic group, which currently its third largest bloc in the European Parliament. ODS then became one of founding members of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR), a conservative and eurosceptic European political party, defending broader conservative and economically liberal principles. Other members of AECR include Conservative Party, Law and Justice or Freedom and Solidarity.


No. Name Photo Since Until
1 Václav Klaus
Vaclav Klaus headshot.jpg
21 April 1991 15 November 2002
2 Mirek Topolánek
Mirek Topolanek.jpg
15 November 2002 13 April 2010
3 Petr Nečas
Necas in Latvia (cropped).jpg
20 June 2010 17 July 2013
4 Petr Fiala
Petr Fiala.jpg
18 January 2014 Incumbent

Note: Only properly elected leaders are included.

Expert Team[edit]

Expert team serves as shadow cabinet of Civic Democratic Party.[46]

Resort Member
Economics and Finances Jan Skopeček (politician)
Development of economy and business environment Alexandra Udženija
Foreign Affairs Jan Zahradil
Defence Jana Černochová
Security Martin Červíček
Industry and Business Martin Kuba
Transport Zbyněk Stanjura
Agriculture Veronika Vrecionová
Public Administration Martin Kupka
Digital Society and e-government Alexander Bellu
Justice Pavel Blažek
Social Affairs Lenka Kohoutová
Health Petr Zimmermann
Education Václav Klaus Jr.
Research and Innovations Jiří Nantl
Culture Marek Pokorný
European Affairs Adéla Kadlecová
Environment Jan Zahradník
Regional Development Martin Baxa

Election results[edit]

Below are charts of the results that the Civic Democratic Party has secured in the Chamber of Deputies, Senate, European Parliament, and regional assemblies at each election.

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats +/- Place Notes Position
1990 ... ...
41 / 200
2nd Split from Civic Forum in 1991. Majority Government
1992 1,924,483 29.7
66 / 200
Increase 1st Increase Participated in Coalition with KDS. Majority Government
1996 1,794,560 Decrease 29.6 Decrease
68 / 200
Increase 1st Minority government supported by oppositional ČSSD. Minority Government
1998 1,656,011 Decrease 27.7 Decrease
63 / 200
Decrease 2nd Decrease Supported a Minority Government of ČSSD. Opposition Agreement
2002 1,166,975 Decrease 24.5 Decrease
58 / 200
Decrease 2nd Main opposition party in opposition
2006 1,892,475 Increase 35.3 Increase
81 / 200
Increase 1st Increase 2006 minority government, 2007-2009 coalition with KDU-ČSL and Greens. Majority Government
2010 1,057,792 Decrease 20.2 Decrease
53 / 200
Decrease 2nd Decrease Coalition government with TOP 09 and VV/LIDEM Majority Government
2013 384,174 Decrease 7.7 Decrease
16 / 200
Decrease 5th Decrease Opposition Party in opposition


Election First round Second round Seats Total Seats
Votes % Places* Votes % Places*
1996** 1,006,036 36.5 1st 1,134,044 49.2 1st 32
32 / 81
1998 266,377 27.7 1st 210,156 39.1 1st 9
26 / 81
2000 203,039 23.6 1st 166,133 29.5 1st 8
22 / 81
2002 165,794 24.9 1st 284,537 34.6 1st 9
26 / 81
2004 241,120 33.3 1st 257,861 53.8 1st 19
37 / 81
2006 354,273 33.3 1st 289,568 50.4 1st 14
41 / 81
2008 252,827 24.1 2nd 266,731 32.4 2nd 3
35 / 81
2010 266,311 23.1 2nd 225,708 33.1 2nd 8
25 / 81
2012 151,950 17.28 3rd 117,990 22.95 2nd 4
15 / 81
2014*** 118,268 11.52 3rd 53,149 11.21 4th 2
14 / 81
2016 103,216 11.71 3rd 42,551 10.03 4th 4[47]
10 / 81

* Places are by number of votes gained.
** The whole Senate was elected. Only one third of Senate was elected in all subsequent elections.
***One of its candidates was elected in coalition with Koruna Česká (party).

European Parliament[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats Place
2004 700,942 30.0
9 / 24
2009 741,946 Increase 31.5 Increase
9 / 22
2014 116,389 Decrease 7.7 Decrease
2 / 21

Municipal Assemblies[edit]

Year Vote % Seats
1994 29.56 7,289
1998 24.16 5,697
2002 25.21 5,715
2006 36.2 7,1011
2010 18.78 5,112
2014 9.01 2,398

Regional Assemblies[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats Places Governors
2000 559,301 23.8 185 7x 1st, 3x 2nd, 3x 3rd 8
2004 769,848 Increase 36.4 Increase 291 Increase 12x 1st, 1x 2nd 12 Increase
2008 687,005 Decrease 23.6 Decrease 180 Decrease 12x 2nd, 1x 3rd 0 Decrease
2012 324,081 Decrease 12.3 Decrease 102 Decrease 1x 1st, 3x 3rd, 7x 4th, 2x 5th 0 Steady
2016 239,836 Decrease 9.5 Decrease 76 Decrease 3x 3rd, 4x 4th, 4x 5th, 2x 6th, 1x 7th

Czechoslovak parliament[edit]

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats Place Notes Position
1992 2,200,937 23.0 48 1st Participated in Coalition with KDS. Majority Government

House of Nations[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats Place Notes
1992 2,168,421 22.6 37 1st Participated in Coalition with KDS

Elected representatives[edit]

Civic Democratic Party has 16 members of the Chamber of Deputies.

Civic Democratic Party has 10 Senators of the Senate of the Czech Republic.

Civic Democratic Party has 2 MEPs.


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  • Hanley, Sean (2008). The New Right in the New Europe: Czech Transformation and Right-Wing Politics, 1989–2006. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-34135-6. 

External links[edit]