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Party Representation in Czech Parliament Following Elections

  • Joe Schneider



Prague, June 3 (RFE/RL) -- The following is the expected breakdown and outline of parties which will be represented in the Czech Parliament following the May 31/June 1 elections in the country:

The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) - 68 seats. Led by free-enterprising Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, the ODS emerged from the election as the strongest party supported by 29.62 percent of the voters. Klaus, an economist, has been credited with successfully transforming the Czech Republic from a state-run to a market economy. He has campaigned on a platform of continuing with the transformation, running an efficient government; with no budgetary deficits and a gradual reduction of bureaucracy and taxes. ODS was hugely popular in Prague and gained much of its support in large cities and among those with university education and higher-than-average income.

The Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) - 61 seats. Led by Milos Zeman, the CSSD received more than four times the vote than in the 1992 election, coming closely behind the ODS with 26.44 percent of the vote. Zeman is also an economist, but says he wants to follow the tradition of Social Democratic governments in western Europe by concentrating less on fiscal responsibility and more on social programs and ecological concerns. During the campaign he said he would be willing to run budgetary deficits to finance his programs. The social democrats gained the most support in the industrial northern Moravia, where Zeman campaigned against Klaus. They also won in southern Moravia and northern Bohemia. CSSD lagged far behind the ODS in Prague.

The Czech and Moravian Communist Party (KSCM) - 22 seats. Headed by Miroslav Grebenicek, the communist party won 10.33 percent of the vote. The party is considered by its mainstream rivals as an extremist, unreformed collection of communists who controlled the country for 40 years. Grebenicek rejects the accusation saying his is a modern left-wing party which favors a mixed market economy. The communists strongest support came from older, less educated voters living in rural areas. They also received strong backing from members in the armed and police forces.

Christian Democratic Party (KDU-CSL) - 18 seats. The Christian Democrats who joined forces with the People's Party are led by Josef Lux. They received 8.08 percent of the vote. Lux was the Minister of Agriculture in the last cabinet and his party was part of the coalition which governed the Czech Republic for the last four years. The party is being wooed by the Social Democrats for a possible center-left alliance, but Lux says he would rather work with the current coalition. KDU's strongest support was in Moravia and the eastern part of the country, among educated, rural and city dwellers.

The Czech Republican Party (SPR-RSC) - 18 seats. Led by Miroslav Sladek, the ultra-right-wing Republican Party received 8.01 percent of the vote. Considered extremists by most of its mainstream rivals, the Republicans drew on the hostility some people feel toward the Gypsy minority in the Czech Republic. Sladek spoke frequently of expelling the estimated 300,000 gypsies from the country, blaming them for increased crime. He also promised to reinstate the death penalty for serious offenders. The Republicans had strong support in the western and northern parts of the country, among the less-educated voters living in rural areas.

Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) - 13 seats. Headed by Jan Kalvoda, the ODA looked for a while as if it might fall short of getting the five percent of the vote necessary for parliamentary representation. In the end, however, the party won 6.36 percent. Kalvoda was deputy Prime Minister and ODA member Vladimir Dlouhy held the influential post of Industry Minister in the former cabinet. The ODA is a libertarian-style party, advocating sharp reductions in taxation and in the government's role in the economy and society. ODA did well in Prague and other large cities. Its support came from those with above-average incomes and independent business people. It was also popular with voters under the age of 24, especially women.
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