Czech opposition and protest parties make strong showing in European elections

Press conference of the ANO movement

Like in other EU member states, elections to the European Parliament in Czechia brought a number of surprises. In addition to a record turnout, almost double that ten years ago, many voters came to the polls to cast a protest vote.

As the results of the European elections were made public late on Sunday night, it was clear that the parties of the ruling centre-right coalition had suffered a humiliating defeat. The most votes went to the opposition ANO party which won 7 mandates, taking a third of the country’s 21 seats, and gaining one more seat than they did in the last elections. ANO leader Andrej Babiš called it a success that surpassed his expectations and said the party’s MEPs would get to work right away to deliver on their election promises.

Andrej Babiš | Photo: Zuzana Jarolímková,  Radio Prague International

“We will strive to decouple electricity pricing from the price of electricity generated from gas, to overturn the ban on combustion engines and to get rid of the emissions allowances that people are forced to pay on their homes, fuel and so on.”

The SPOLU (Together) coalition made up of the ruling Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and TOP 09, came second, securing 6 mandates, but losing two seats in the European Parliament.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats said it was a lesson to be learnt.

“People cast their ballot in elections to the European Parliament, but at the same time the results reflect the mood of the society. We have seen opposition parties succeed elsewhere in Europe and it is a clear message from voters that must serve us as a lesson for the future.”

Press conference of the SPOLU coalition | Photo: René Volfík,

The big surprise in these elections are two protest coalitions, whose parties are not represented in the Czech Parliament and which were expected to make marginal gains.

One is Přísaha a Motoriste (Oath and Motorists), who won 10.26 percent of the vote and will be sending two MEPs to Brussels, the other is Stačilo! (Enough!), a left-wing- coalition headed by Communist Party leader Kateřina Konečná, with 9.56 percent, which also gained two seats. Both are highly critical of the direction in which the EU is heading and based their election campaign on promises of radical reform.

“The vote was a referendum on this government and a referendum on peace – and we won both” Konečná told reporters. She campaigned against the Migration Pact, the Green Deal and was vocal on the need to stop military support for Ukraine so as to open the way for peace talks.

Kateřina Konečná | Photo: Zuzana Jarolímková,

The leader of the Oath and Motorists Filip Turek –who has appeared on a photo doing the Nazi salute - said he was glad the greens and progressivists in the EP had taken a beating and indicted that he would negotiate to join the European Conservatives and Reformists faction.

The Oath and Motorists unexpectedly weakened a better established anti-EU party on the Czech scene –the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party of Tomio Okamura - which only got 5,87 percent of the vote and will be sending just one MEP to Brussels.

The other two government parties who ran in the elections on independent tickets, the Mayors and Independents and the Pirate Party, both did surprisingly poorly, winning 2 and 1 mandate respectively. Both party leaders said they were disappointed with the results.

While the ruling coalition has tried to present the outcome of these elections as “not entirely unexpected” in the light of what is happening elsewhere in Europe, commentators are pointing out that the strong support for protest parties, both right and left, is indicative of what the country may expect in the autumn regional and 2025 general elections.

Author: Daniela Lazarová | Sources: Český rozhlas , ČTK
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