Czech legislative election, 2010
All 200 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
101 seats needed for a majority
A legislative election in the Czech Republic took place on 28–29 May 2010 to elect the members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic. The election had been expected to take place sometime before the end of 2009, but was postponed due to legal challenges. Before the election, the country had been governed by a caretaker administration headed by Jan Fischer. The Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) was the front-runner of the election and its leader Jiří Paroubek was favourite to become the new Prime Minister.
The election saw a loss of support for ČSSD, although they still received the highest number of votes. The conservative Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and TOP 09 followed in second and third, with the Communist Party finishing fourth. ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek resigned after the election, conceding that a conservative coalition government appeared likely, due to the rise in support for two new right-wing parties: TOP 09 and Public Affairs (VV). In June, a centre-right coalition of ODS, TOP 09, and VV was formed, with Petr Nečas becoming the prime minister.
- 1 Background
- 2 Contesting political parties and candidates
- 3 Campaign
- 3.1 Civic Democratic Party (ODS)
- 3.2 Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD)
- 3.3 Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM)
- 3.4 TOP 09
- 3.5 Public Affairs (VV)
- 3.6 Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party (KDU–ČSL)
- 3.7 Green Party
- 3.8 Party of Civic Rights
- 3.9 Sovereignty – Jana Bobošíková Bloc
- 3.10 Independent initiatives
- 3.11 Campaign finances
- 4 Television debates
- 5 Opinion polls
- 6 Results
- 7 Aftermath
- 8 Footnotes
- 9 External links
On 24 March 2009, after four previous failed attempts, the opposition ČSSD succeeded in passing a no confidence vote against the government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek (ODS) in the lower house of the Czech parliament. The measure passed with 101 votes to 96, with several members of Topolánek's own party voting with the opposition.
On 28 March 2009, ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek and Topolánek agreed to hold early elections in October 2009. They later agreed to form an interim government of experts (before the end of the Czech EU presidency), with half of the government nominated by ČSSD and half by two parties of the incumbent government (ODS and The Greens; the third party KDU–ČSL did not participate), and that early elections would be held on 16–17 October 2009. On 5 April 2009, Paroubek and Topolánek agreed on Jan Fischer, the head of the national statistical office, as the interim Prime Minister, to take over on 8 May 2009, and stated that elections would be held by 15 October 2009, most likely on 9–10 October 2009.
The newly founded party Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09 (TOP 09), which had split off from the KDU–ČSL, also contested the election. Some polls showed the party to be in fourth place, closely behind the Communist Party.
The election date was initially scheduled for 1 July 2009, but ex-ČSSD Independent MP Miloš Melčák filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court, on the grounds that he had a right to sit in parliament for a full term, and the election was postponed while the court examined the legality of the law setting the election date. A hearing was scheduled for 10 September 2009; if the court ruled against the complaint at that hearing, elections would be held as planned, but politicians agreed that they would rather change the constitution to simplify the procedure of calling early elections, and using the new provisions, the election would be held with a delay of at most one month, regardless of the court's decision, most likely on 6–7 November.
However, the Constitutional Court viewed the constitutional amendment calling for one-off early elections as a retroactive decision in violation of the existing constitutional procedures regulating early elections, and struck down the act on the grounds that it violated the procedure for constitutional amendments, the right to vote, and the inalienable principle of a law-abiding state. As the Court ruled the election date invalid, the laws (a constitutional amendment and a law shortening election deadlines) were passed on 11 September as planned. President Klaus signed the laws on 12 September, and parliament planned to dissolve itself on 15 September. Melčák stated, however, that he would likely file another complaint if this plan went ahead.
In a surprise move, ČSSD announced on 15 September that it would not vote in favour of dissolution, as the new law was likely to be challenged by Melčák again, and this would again call the legality of the election into question; they were now in favour of elections in mid-2010, on the initially scheduled dates. ČSSD had 71 seats and needed ten more MPs to support their position to delay the election, but it was considered likely that they would succeed in blocking the election. The Christian and Democratic Union (KDU-ČSL) also withdrew their support for early elections, meaning the election would be held in May 2010.
Following controversial comments about the Catholic Church, Jews and homosexuals, ODS chairman Topolánek withdrew from the election and resigned as party leader on 26 March 2010. He was replaced by Petr Nečas.
Contesting political parties and candidates
Civic Democratic Party (ODS)
ODS launched its campaign on 16 March 2010, with reducing unemployment as the main focus. The party stated it would support shorter working periods[clarification needed] and employment of graduates and seniors. The party used mannequins of fictional characters Václav Dobrák and Marie Slušná as campaign mascots and the campaign slogans "ODS is the solution" and "It won't happen without your vote."
When their main rival ČSSD used blue ambulances in their campaign to attack ODS, the party reacted by parking a demolished orange ambulance outside the Chamber of Deputies to depict how healthcare would look if ČSSD led the government.
The previous leader of ODS, former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, was replaced as leader by Petr Nečas on 26 March 2010, considered a more acceptable and popular candidate than Topolánek. ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek stated that he could cooperate with Nečas in some circumstances. Nečas rejected Paroubek's comments and stated that ODS would not form a Grand coalition with ČSSD after the election.
ODS started focusing on economics and public finances in April 2010, promising to reduce public debt to avoid bankruptcy, and using the example of Greece to warn against ČSSD. The party also used negative campaigning against ČSSD, focused primarily on Paroubek.
The Civic Democrats conducted an active campaign on the internet, communicating with potential voters on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The party held an online "virtual demonstration" against ČSSD. On 30 April 2010, ODS released an election advert entitled "Your vote", commemorating the trial of Milada Horáková and the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, and warning against Social Democrats and Communists. The clip urged Jiří Paroubek to resign as ČSSD leader, a response to Paroubek's appeal to some ODS politicians to quit politics.
Nečas held campaign events in multiple towns across the Czech Republic, meeting potential voters. ODS also featured Nečas heavily in its billboard campaign, launched in May 2010, which presented him as a candidate of "responsible politics".
Nečas attacked ČSSD over the election debate, crticising the fact that Paroubek had agreed to just three debates, and accusing him of avoiding a confrontation with him. The first head-to-head debate between Nečas and Paroubek was held on 12 April 2018, resulting in no clear winner, according to analysts. A second debate was held on 23 May 2010, also with no clear winner. The last debate was held on 26 May 2010, with journalists judging Nečas to have been better prepared and more confident than Paroubek, and the victor of the debate.
The party published campaign newspapers with the title Jasně ("Of Course"), introducing their policies and candidates.
ODS launched the final phase of its campaign, called "120 Hours for Victory", on 23 May 2010. Nečas said that ODS had to "stop Jiří Paroubek and the Communists". 120 Hours for Victory included performances by Czech singers such as Eva Pilarová, Helena Zeťová, Ivan Mládek, Tereza Kerndlová and Jitka Zelenková, attended by hundreds of party supporters. The party invited foreign politicians who came to the event to support ODS. The party was endorsed by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Slovak politician Iveta Radičová who both attended the event.
Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD)
ČSSD was led into the election by former Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek. The party was considered the front-runner in the election and Paroubek was believed to be most likely to form the new government. The party's campaign slogans were "A better future for ordinary people" and "Change and Hope".
ČSSD launched their campaign on 22 April 2010. Paroubek stated that the party planned to restore economic growth. The party held large rallies in Czech towns, which ceased in May 2010 when ČSSD MP Bohuslav Sobotka was physically attacked by an opponent of the party. ČSSD politicians decided to meet voters at factories and schools instead. The party also put a lot of effort into a telephone campaign, in which ČSSD politicians phoned people to ask which party they were planning to vote for and ask them about their ideas.
ČSSD made heavy use of negative campaigning directed as ODS and TOP 09, with half of their campaign billboards attacking those two parties. Slogans used on billboards included "Let's stop ODS and TOP 09 on 28 May" or "If you don't vote, you will pay by getting dismissed without cause." The party published campaign newspapers called Health Newspapers, attacking the healthcare plans of the two right-wing parties.
ČSSD concluded its campaign with the slogan "Work and Prosperity", and handed out 100,000 doughnuts at events for party supporters. ČSSD campaign manager Jaroslav Tvrdík stated that the party wanted to "make it more pleasant for people to wake up, and remind them why is voting important".
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM)
The Communist Party, led by Vojtěch Filip, ran a campaign focused on young voters, and held meetings with potential voters in town squares around the country, culminating in a huge rally on Náměstí Republiky, Prague. Younger party activists also attended meetings to attract young voters. The party's campaign used the slogan "With the people, for the People" and also featured celebrities who supported the party such as Martin Maxa and Jana Kociánová.
TOP 09 was founded by Miroslav Kalousek in June 2009. Karel Schwarzenberg was elected leader of the new party, and they entered a partnership with Mayors and Independents. TOP 09 decided to target conservative voters and began raising funds for their campaign, which was launched on 27 April 2010. Schwarzenberg promised a fight against corruption, healthcare reform, and moral renewal of the country. The party also attacked Public Affairs. The campaign, closely inspired by Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, featured billboards using the slogan "more than you think".
Public Affairs (VV)
Public Affairs were led by author and journalist Radek John. The party launched its campaign on 20 April 2010, with John stating that he believed the party would receive more than 10% of votes. The party promised an end to "political dinosaurs" and promised to fight against corruption.
Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party (KDU–ČSL)
KDU–ČSL, led by Cyril Svoboda, launched its campaign on 8 April 2010. The party had a shortage of campaign funding, and focused on a personal campaign, with party leaders visiting workplaces, social institutions and retirement homes. KDU-ČSL used the slogans "KDU-ČSL, the better in us" and "A good day is when ..."
The Green Party, led by Ondřej Liška, launched their campaign on 27 April 2010, which featured prominent supporters of the party such as former President Václav Havel, Lenka Dusilová, and Meda Mládková.
The Greens focused heavily on communicating directly with citizens and their internet campaign. Liška stated that the Greens wanted to be different from the big parties and be "modest and sincere". The Greens considered TOP 09 and Public Affairs to be their main rivals. Their campaign focused on the environment and support for a healthy lifestyle, while also telling voters that their economic programme was good for the Czech Republic.
The party concluded its campaign by releasing three video adverts, in which party supporters tried to convince people to vote for them.
Party of Civic Rights
Sovereignty – Jana Bobošíková Bloc
Defenestration 2010 was an independent initiative organised by František Janouch and Lenka Procházková, urging voters to use their preferential votes to help elect lesser known politicians, as they were "less likely to be involved in corruption".
Replace Politicians was an independent initiative supported by celebrities such as Dan Bárta, Aneta Langerová, Radek Banga, Viktor Preiss and David Koller, calling for voters to support smaller parties. The initiative held events and concerts, and the band Nightwork released a video clip to support the initiative.
|Party||Money Spent||Campaign Worth|
|ODS||213,000,000 Kč||192,885,423 Kč|
|ČSSD||184,124,000 Kč||333,084,552 Kč|
|VV||108,047,075 Kč||57,715,754 Kč|
|SPO||60,376,994 Kč||29,032,691 Kč|
|TOP 09||53,628,000 Kč||25,287,285 Kč|
|KDU-ČSL||50,000,000 Kč||3,795,362 Kč|
|SZ||12,737,573 Kč||1,658,820 Kč|
|KSČM||10,200,000 Kč||6,648,556 Kč|
|ČS||7,000,000 Kč||10,655,395 Kč|
Leaders of major parties Petr Nečas and Jiří Paroubek faced each other in four duels. First duel was organised by Česká televize in April 2010. Second duel was organised by Prima televize. It was very calm as both leaders didn't attack each other. Third duel was more aggressive and full of personal attacks. Last duel was organised by Česká televize and was inspired by debates organised by British Broadcasting Company.
|Czech legislative election debates, 2010|
|Date||Organisers||P Present A Absent|
|12 April||Česká televize||P
|23 May||Prima televize||P
|25 May||Český rozhlas||A||A||P
|26 May||Český rozhlas||P
|27 May||Česká televize||P
|Viewed as "the winner of debate"|
|Date||Polling Firm||ČSSD||ODS||TOP 09||KSČM||VV||KDU-ČSL||SZ||SPO||Others|
|7–12 May 2010||Factum Invenio||26.3||22.9||10.9||13.1||12.6||5.5||2.5||2.6||3.6|
|3–10 May 2010||CVVM||30.5||19.0||14.0||13.0||11.5||3.5||4.5||2.0||2.0|
|28 April–4 May 2010||Sanep||29.9||22.3||10.1||12.9||9.8||4.7||2.8||5.5||2.0|
|2 Apr - 1 May 2010||Median||26.2||19.0||10.7||13.3||7.6||7.5||3.5||6.8||5.3|
|23–28 April 2010||Factum Invenio||27.5||21.7||11.1||13.9||11.0||5.2||2.9||3.2||3.5|
|13–28 April 2010||Médea Research||30.4||18.7||13.7||10.0||12.0||4.4||4.9||3.7||2.2|
|7–13 April 2010||Sanep||29.0||20.1||13.4||13.0||8.5||5.6||3.6||5.2||1.6|
|5-12 April 2010||CVVM||30.0||22.5||11.5||13.0||9.0||4.0||4.0||3.0||3.0|
|1 - 10 April 2010||STEM||27.8||18.6||9.3||9.9||8.1||4.9||3.2||3.1||15.2|
|3 - 9 Apr 2010||Factum Invenio||29.5||22.3||11.6||13.9||8.9||5.5||2.6||2.7||3.0|
|2 Mar - 30 Apr 2010||Median||27.0||21.2||7.5||16.8||4.3||7.4||4.8||N/A||11.0|
|1 - 8 Mar 2010||CVVM||32.0||25.5||10.0||12.0||7.0||4.5||4.5||3.0||1.5|
|27 Feb - 8 Mar 2010||STEM||27.9||20.0||7.7||11.3||6.2||4.8||3.8||3.6||14.7|
|26 Feb - 3 Mar 2010||Factum Invenio||27.4||23.0||11.8||14.4||7.8||6.2||4.7||N/A||4.7|
|7–13 April 2010||Sanep||29.0||20.1||13.4||13.0||8.5||5.6||3.6||5.2||1.6|
The centre-left ČSSD won the most votes, with 22.1%. The conservative ODS and TOP 09 followed with 20.2% and 16.7% respectively. The Communist Party came fourth with 11.3%, ahead of the centre-right VV which received 10.9%. It was the first time that the Communists had finished lower than third in a Czech election. TOP 09 and VV won seats in Parliament for the first time. The Christian Democrats (4.4%), the Party of Civic Rights (4.3%), the Green Party (2.4%), and Sovereignty (3.7%), failed to gain the 5% necessary to enter parliament. Voter turnout was 62.6% nationally, highest in Prague-West District (71.69%) and lowest in Sokolov District (50.89%). The results were a setback for the Czech Republic's largest parties, ČSSD and ODS. President Václav Klaus said that the results would cause a "fundamental weakening" of the two parties.
|Czech Social Democratic Party||1,155,267||22.08||56||–18|
|Civic Democratic Party||1,057,792||20.22||53||–28|
|Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia||589,765||11.27||26||0|
|Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party||229,717||4.39||0||–13|
|Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci||226,527||4.33||0||New|
|Sovereignty – Jana Bobošíková Bloc||192,145||3.67||0||New|
|Workers' Party of Social Justice||59,888||1.14||0||New|
|Czech Pirate Party||42,323||0.80||0||New|
|Party of Free Citizens||38,897||0.74||0||New|
|Coalition for Republic – Republican Party of Czechoslovakia||1,993||0.03||0||0|
|Czech National Socialist Party||1,371||0.02||0||0|
|Czech National Social Party||295||0.00||0||0|
|Source: Czech Statistical Office|
|Parties and coalitions||Votes||%||Seats|
|Civic Democratic Party||158,014||24.79||8|
|Czech Social Democratic Party||96,706||15.17||4|
|Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia||41,647||6,53||2|
|Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci||19,851||3.11||0|
|Total (turnout 68.0%)||637,328||25|
Central Bohemian Region
|Parties and coalitions||Votes||%||Seats|
|Civic Democratic Party||150,465||23.87||7|
|Czech Social Democratic Party||129,368||20.52||6|
|Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia||69,368||11.00||3|
|Sovereignty – Jana Bobošíková Bloc||27,430||4.35||0|
|Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci||23,235||3.68||0|
|Total (turnout 64.26%)||630,203||24|
After the election results were announced, Jiří Paroubek resigned as ČSSD leader, citing disappointment with the outcome, and saying that "it seems that people have chosen the direction the republic should go in and it is a different direction than the one ČSSD were offering". ČSSD had led comfortably in polling before the election, and its 22% share of the vote was a significant drop from the party's 32% in the 2006 election. Paroubek conceded that a conservative coalition government was likely.
ODS, TOP 09 and VV had all committed to government spending cuts, raising the prospect of the formation of a fiscally conservative cabinet. The leaders of the three parties held coalition talks shortly after the results were published. ODS leader Petr Nečas said that the three parties had a "common will" to form a government, stating that their financial plans would work together to help the country avoid a crisis similar to the one affecting Greece at the time. Negotiations between the three parties about the formation of a new government started on 2 June 2010, and the parties signed a proclamation to continue negotiations.
After extensive talks regarding the terms of the coalition, Nečas was appointed Prime Minister on 28 June 2010. Public Affairs held a referendum among party members to decide whether to join the new government. The result was announced on 12 July 2018, with 2,912 members voting in favour and 815 against. The coalition agreement was signed on the same day.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Czech legislative election (2010).|
- Official election website of the Czech Statistical Office
- NSD: European Election Database – Czech Republic publishes regional level election data (NUTS 1–3); allows for comparisons of election results, 1990–2010