Communists snag smaller percentage than in 2002

Miloslav Ransdorf (right), photo: CTK

The Czech Communist party so far appears to have received a smaller percentage of votes cast than they did in the 2002 election - when they won nearly a fifth of the vote. Even so, they are still likely to come out of this year's elections as the country's third strongest party.

Miloslav Ransdorf (right), photo: CTK
Radio Prague asked Communist Euro MP Miloslav Ransdorf for his explanation of his party's showing.

"I can tell you frankly that our preparation for the election campaign was not very favorable. We started too late and we underestimated the financial coverage of our election campaign. Also, the performance of our regional leaders was not acceptable for the public. We should offer new visions accompanied also by new faces. I regret that the top of our candidate list in regions didn't correspond to this challenge. We have a lot of good talents for political life in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, only a few had the possibility to be on top of our candidate lists."

Whatever the reason for the Communists' apparent drop in popularity, Mr Ransdorf does not think the predicted victory for Civic Democrats represents a genuine shift in voter attitudes toward the right. He gave little credit to Civic Democratic leadership, and says that change is just part of the natural political cycle after almost a decade of center-left rule.

Photo: CTK
"It is only, I would say, the pendulum of political life because the Social Democrats have had the power for eight years. It's just the political pendulum, this shift from the left to the right is corresponding to this habit."

Clearly though, the communists will continue in a different role than they had hoped. A Social Democratic victory could have expanded their influence considerably, as the chairman of the Social Democrats, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, had indicated that he would not reject a minority government supported tacitly by the communists. With today's results, that scenario doesn't appear likely to happen now.