Parliamentary elections over the weekend shifted voter preferences, but did not surprise. Three major party groups (ANO, SPOLU, and PiratStan) were expected to be grouped atop the results. ANO finished in the middle of their expected range of outcomes. SPOLU received support at the top of their expected range. PiratStan finished below their expected outcome. The only other party to receive enough votes to be represented in Parliament- SPD- finished in the lower range of their expected outcomes. The Social Democrats and the Communist Party both fell out of Parliament for the first time since 1992. Turnout bumped up from 2017 (+5%).
Prague seems to have decided the election. As highlighted in AmCham's pre-election analysis, previous turnout trends- with Prague citizens more likely to vote than the rest of the country- held (Prague had 70% turnout to the national average of 65%). SPOLU gathered 40% (+141,502 advantage over Ano) of that vote- 45,530 more than the three parties forming SPOLU received in the last election. This was a defeat for the PiratStan coalition which holds the mayorship, as well as ANO. Add the totals for the Prague-East (74% turnout, +17,938 advantage for SPOLU over ANO) and Prague-West (75% turnout, +16,513 advantage for SPOLU over ANO) districts in Central Bohemia and Prague gave SPOLU just enough votes to narrowly edge ANO in the overall vote count.
Now, as our election experts predicted, comes long and difficult dealmaking. Someone needs to cobble together 101 votes in Parliament to form a government. The obvious coalition from the proclamations Sunday October 10 is SPOLU and PiratStan- except neither actually exists in Parliament. What exists in Parliament is ODS (34 votes), STAN (33 votes). KDU-CSL (23), TOP 09 (14) and the Pirates (4 votes). All five parties will need to agree on an agenda (for instance, whether to embrace or criticize the Green New Deal), and how to divide the ministries amongst themselves. ANO, with 72 deputies in Parliament, will likely focus on peeling ODS (or, with lower probability, STAN) from the potential coalition in order to form a two-party government. Expect the prime minister to use the crisis at Skoda Auto and other issues to surface the policy and personal conflicts in the SPOLU and PiratStan relationship in order to prevent the five parties from making it to the altar. The thread holding the five parties together has been beating Andrej Babiš. The longer it takes for them to form a coalition after increasing that possibility on Saturday October 9, the more time for that thread to fray from policy disagreement and personal or party ambition.
10th October 2022
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