Press Review

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The major success of the Social Democratic Party, big gains for the Communists and the losses of the right-of-centre Coalition of the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union Party - these are the main topics discussed by special Sunday editions of the Czech newspapers today.

The major success of the Social Democratic Party, big gains for the Communists and the losses of the right-of-centre Coalition of the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union Party - these are the main topics discussed by special Sunday editions of the Czech newspapers today.

Mlada fronta Dnes writes that the final blow to the right-of-centre parties was dealt first by the low turnout - less than 60 percent - but also by those who gave their votes to the Communists out of mere protest. After four years in a kind of semi-opposition, Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democrats have now lost almost everything, as only their most loyal supporters voted for them. The failure of the Coalition is twice as crushing - but only thanks to mistakes they themselves had made. With its internal problems not fully resolved, the Coalition became untrustworthy, writes the paper.

The victorious Social Democrats can now dictate their own conditions, writes Mlada fronta Dnes. Whatever coalition they choose to form, they are in the advantage. The paper adds that the ones who have the real reason to celebrate are the Communists. "They have not won completely yet. But if the democratic parties do not recuperate, the Communists might become clear winners next time," concludes the paper.

According to Pravo, on the first sight the election results seem to indicate that people would like to see a government of the Social Democrats and the Communists, but this is a false view. People in fact do not want the Communists, otherwise they would have come out as winners. The voters wish a cabinet who would behave decently towards ordinary citizens and would encourage those who want to reach more through their own diligent efforts.

The Communists have done well not because of their own merits, but because the others simply allowed them to return, writes today's Hospodarske noviny. Their success has come as the result of a process, whereby voters decided to bring the party into the political mainstream, writes the paper.

It adds that over the past few months, popular TV debates featured more Communist politicians than those from the Coalition. Just as important is the fact that Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democrats had targeted most of their criticism against the Social Democrats and the Coalition, not against the Communists, notes Hospodarske noviny.

Lidove noviny is of the same view, saying that the success scored by the Communists has shown that the growing extremism is the dark side of people's indifference. According to the paper, the low election turnout in not the only thing to blame, it's also the lack of unity of the right-of-centre parties. The small parties received votes which would otherwise have gone to the big ones. And last but not least, both the Civic and Social Democrats let the genie out of the bottle, by bringing up the theme of the 'old German enemy', which the Communists made a full use of.

All this points to the fact that the Social Democrat chairman Vladimir Spidla will have to form the new cabinet with the right-of-centre Coalition, but with tacit support from the Communists. "He is a realist who uses all suitable means for achieving his goals, and he'll gladly receive communist hands during votes on social issues," concludes Lidove noviny.