Analyst: low turnout, cynical media responsible for Communist gains

Miroslav Grebenicek- leader of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, photo: CTK

So why did the Communists do so well? What went wrong for Mr Klaus's Civic Democrats, who scored their worst result in the party's history? How stable will any centre-left coalition be, with just 101 of the 200 seats in parliament? For an answer to these and other questions, Rob Cameron spoke to Vaclav Zak, editor-in-chief of the political bi-monthly Listy:

Miroslav Grebenicek - leader of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, photo: CTK
"If you take into account that there were 15 percent less people participating in the elections, the number of people who voted for the Communist Party four years ago is almost exactly the same as this time around. They have almost no new voters. It was simply abstentions which led to their 18.5 percent - they gained just because of the abstention of other voters."

Why didn't people go to the polls? Why was turnout so low?

"I think the responsibility is divided between politicians and I'm afraid journalists as well. The Czech media - almost all of the media - launched a campaign claiming that the minority Social Democrat government, based on the so-called Opposition Agreement, was cheating the voters, and that it made no sense to go to the polls because the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats would again form some of common government. It was nonsense, but unfortunately many people were disgusted with politics."

And not a good weekend for the Civic Democrats and its leader Vaclav Klaus. Is his career over?

"I hope so. I'm really eager to know the results of talks by the Civic Democrats' political committee on the matter. I think Vaclav Klaus did a lot for this country at the beginning of the transformation process. He made a lot of difficult decisions - the exchange rate was an excellent idea, the division of the state was again very well done. But over the last five years he has acted as a brake for the Czech Republic, and he should go."

This new centre-left coalition, if it comes about, is going to have a very slim majority - 101 seats of the 200 in the lower house - it could be a rocky ride for the Czech Republic over the next four years.

"Yes, that's true. It's really true - this government will be in a much more sensitive position than the minority government was in the last four years. But still, when you're in government, you can do lots of things without asking parliament. If the government is formed with reasonable people - and everything says that this could be done - then they really could do a proper job for the next four years, even with a very slight margin in parliament. And I think that if Vaclav Klaus goes, then the Civic Democrats will start to behave in a different way, and then it will be possible to gain support for the measures necessary for entering the European Union. And that's the most important thing for this country."