Czech Christian Democrats at a crossroads
The recent Czech general elections saw voters swing away from the established parties in favour of newcomers. One of the traditional parties that got left out in the cold were the Christian Democrats, who received just 4.4 percent of the vote, falling short of the 5 percent threshold required for seats in Parliament. Radio Prague spoke to political analyst Vít Hloušek from Brno’s Masaryk University, and asked him what led to the party’s decline.
“The position of the Christian Democrats has been complicated since the mid 1990s, because this party is based on some very specific, traditional electoral background without being capable of increasing influence over the new cohorts, or groups of voters. So it is a territorially limited political party, and one which is not attractive enough for a majority of Czech voters.”
“I’m afraid their situation is very complicated; some of the possible new streams they could use to improve their programme and to appeal to different groups of voters has been already taken by the newly-formed party TOP 09, led by Miroslav Kalousek and Karel Schwarzenberg. They tried to present themselves as the most conservative party, and at the same time, the party supports liberal market economy. This is a combination that is much more attractive than the traditional centre-based position of the Christian Democrats.
“Looking at the party elites, I’m sceptical as well because I don’t see any new person, any new potential way forward for the Christian Democrats. They are now in a very complicated position.”
Do you think that the traditional space in the middle, between right- and left-wing, do you think this will disappear from Czech politics?