Last weekend, 7-8 October, the Czech Republic held Regional and Senatorial elections. A shakeup in the political landscape could be imminent, as many regarded these elections as a litmus test for the 2017 Parliamentary elections. For the Czech Greens, they saw modest gains by entering some new Regional governments and three senators that will go to this weekend’s second round of voting, but failed to get through a referendum that they had campaigned for.
In the regional elections, while not an overwhelming success for the Greens, they still came out with more mandates than previously as they passed the 5% threshold in 5 out of 13 regions as members of various coalitions with either the Pirates or the Christian Democrats, whereas previously they only had seats in 3 regional governments. In the Senatorial race, there will be 3 senators that will go to the second round, voting which will take place 14-15 October. If at least two of them are successful, then the Czech Greens can form a Group in the Senate, known locally as a ’Senate Club.’
In Brno, the second biggest city of the Czech Republic, there was a referendum that Greens had been campaigning for to modernise the city’s dilapidated main train station in the city centre, instead of rebuilding in another location. Despite over 80% of voters voting in favour of keeping the main train station in the centre, it unfortunately was not binding due to too little turnout- only 23.8% voted instead of the necessary 35%. Low voter turnout was seen throughout the country, as only 34.6% of voters went to the polls, marking a continuing trend of low turnout rates for the Czech Republic.
The biggest winners of the elections was the centrist ANO party which is led by Finance Minister and Czech business magnate Andrej Babiš and the ruling Social Democrats (ČSSD) suffered the biggest loses. This shift of power could be a sign for next year’s Parliamentary elections, with many expecting that ANO could form the future government.
Regional elections: ANO (Centrists) 21.6%, ČSSD (Social Democrats) 15.25%, KSČM (Communist Party) 10.55%, ODS (Conservatives) 9.47%, KDU-ČSL (Christian Democrats) 6.3%, SPD & SPO (Far right coalition) 4.67%.