Ano makes big gains in municipal elections but loses Prague

The Ano party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has won the municipal elections in all but two regional capitals, including Prague, where the opposition Civic Democrats and Pirates took first and second, respectively.

More than 47 percent of eligible voters nationwide cast ballots in the municipal elections that took place on Friday and Saturday, three percentage points more than in 2014. For the Senate race, turnout reached 42 percent. It was the first popular test for the minority government of Ano and the Social Democrats formed in July.

Although the Civic Democrats won the capital, they could be frozen out of power. The initiative Praha Sobě and the Joint Forces for Prague (Top 09, Party of Mayors and Independents, and Christian Democrats) are looking to negotiate with the Pirates.

Nationwide, traditionally a variety of local associations of independent candidates have won the most seats in the municipal elections.

A second round of voting in the Senate elections takes place October 12-13, for contestants who fail to win 50 percent of the vote in the first round.

The Social Democrats will have only five candidates for the upper house of Parliament in the second round, not enough to retain the 12 seats it was defending in the vote, meaning the party will likely lose the coveted post of Senate speaker.

A total of 216,000 candidates ran for around 62,000 seats in city and local councils. There were 236 candidates vying for one of the 27 vacant seats in the Senate.

Author: Brian Kenety