Civic Democrats issue new policy document in bid to stem loss of support

Petr Nečas, photo: CTK

While their 22 percent showing in the last parliamentary elections was enough to put the Civic Democrats at the head of a coalition government, it was still their worst result ever. Today things look even grimmer for the long-term dominant force on the Czech right, with one recent poll suggesting their support stands at a meagre 9 percent. With parliamentary, Senate, European and local elections all due next year, Petr Nečas’s party are now trying to fight back, on Monday launching "Agenda 2014", a policy document that targets small business people. But can the Civic Democrats’ new strategy help revive their fortunes? That’s a question I put to journalist and political analyst Jindřich Šídlo.

Petr Nečas,  photo: CTK
“First, I think the Civic Democrats know right now that they have no chance of winning the next elections. Their focus on small enterprises and these voters is just an effort to minimise their loss.

“I don’t know if it can work, because I think that this target group can remember all the party’s promises from the past, concerning taxes…I’m not sure that it can help the Civic Democrats a lot.”

Petr Nečas was re-elected party leader only in November. Do you think he will survive the next party congress and lead the party into next year’s elections?

“Well, I think that Petr Nečas is right when he says there is no natural leader who could succeed him for the next elections. And I don’t think there is a politician in the party who would like to lead the party into opposition.

“It’s probably the saddest destiny of a politician, to lead a party into opposition and into a heavy loss after a very long period of the reign of that party.

Martin Kuba,  photo: Filip Jandourek
“I think the Civic Democrats have a couple of prospective politicians for the future: Martin Kuba maybe, Jiří Pospíšil. But I’m not sure that these people would like to succeed Petr Nečas this autumn.

“And in fact the congress is not scheduled to be an election conference. They would have to change the programme, which is possible for sure.

“But I’m not sure that the Civic Democrats can find their own Jiří Paroubek [who after succeeding Stanislav Gross in 2005 turned around the fortunes of the Social Democrats by the following year], who would like to do this very hard job.”

Next year there will be four elections. Do you think 2014 could be the year that the Civic Democrats cease to be a significant force in Czech politics?

“I think we can be almost sure that next year’s parliamentary elections will be won by the left-wing parties, by the Social Democrats, and they will form a new government in 2014.

Jindřich Šídlo,  photo: Filip Jandourek
“I’m not sure that the parties care about the European elections. But I know the Civic Democrats are pretty nervous about municipal elections in October 2014. In fact, that’s their last bastion. Because if they lose in the towns and the cities, they will in fact have no power at all.

“They’ve lost the Senate and they cannot win it back. They’ve lost the regions. They will lose the Chamber of Deputies, and the last bastion is in cities and towns.

“I talk to people in the party and they are very nervous. They are maybe more nervous about the municipal elections than the parliamentary elections.”