ANO wins 10 of 13 regional Czech elections

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party has won the regional assembly elections that ended on Saturday afternoon, capturing over 22 percent of the vote overall and placing first in 10 of 13 contests, according to unofficial results. A third of the seats in the Senate, 27 in total, were also being contested; most will be decided by a second (run-off) round of voting next weekend.

Local administrations hold far less power than the central cabinet in Prague, but the regional ballot this weekend – about a year before general elections – is an important measure of voter support. The results appear to signal confidence in the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite a recent uptick, and its plan to weather the economic fallout.

In the regional contests, the opposition Pirate Party placed second overall, with about 12 percent of the vote. The centre-left Social Democrats (ČSSD) – ANO’s junior government coalition partner – garnered less than 5 percent of the vote, as did the unreformed Communist Party (KSČM), which have tolerated Babiš’s government in exchange for policy concessions.

The centre-right Civic Democrats (ODS) won nearly 7 percent of the vote, the right-wing Party for Direct Democracy (SPD) and centrist Party of Mayors and Independents (STAN) about 6 percent each and the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) about 5 percent. In a coalition with the ODS, the centre-right TOP 09 party won 4 percent of the vote. No other party or coalition garnered more than 2.5 percent, with most getting less than 1 percent.

As of Saturday evening, ANO appeared to have won the Moravian-Silesian, South Moravian, Olomouc, Pardubice, Vysočina, Ústí nad Labem, Karlovy Vary and Plzeň regions for certain. A coalition called the Mayors for the Liberec Region (SLK) won that region while in the Hradec Králové region, a coalition of ODS, STAN and Východočeši emerged the victors.

The official regional assembly results will be published on Tuesday (October 6) in the Collection of Laws. In total, the posts of 675 regional assembly members, elected to four-year terms, were contested by 9,711 candidates, representing or aligned with a total of 85 parties or coalitions. Unlike the other 13 regions, Prague did not hold elections.

Author: Brian Kenety