Czech Trump and insurgent parties benefit from ‘voting hurricane’ in Czech Republic election

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Series Details 21.10.17
Publication Date 21/10/2017
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Background and further information:

The parliamentary election took place in the aftermath of an internal crisis affecting the coalition government at the final period of its mandate. This cabinet was formed by the Social Democrats, the ANO party and the Christian Democrats.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka started by announcing his resignation in May 2017 due to alleged financial irregularities of the government's finance minister, Andrej Babiš. Following a dispute with Czech President Miloš Zeman over the continuation of the cabinet, Mr Sobotka decided instead to dismiss Mr Babiš and replace him with a new finance minister.

The government crisis developed as opinion polls showed the decline of Mr Sobotka's Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) and wider victory margin for the ANO party, founded by Mr Babiš. Amid speculation of his continuation as the leader of the Social Democrats, Mr Sobotka announced his resignation as party leader on 15 June.

On 6 September 2017, the Czech Parliament voted to strip Mr Babiš of his parliamentary immunity after allegations of EU funding fraud emerged. His supporters called the move as an attempt to kill him politically ahead of the election.

Czech police formally charged Mr Babis, the frontrunner to become Czech prime minister in the parliamentary elections, with fraud on the 9 October 2017.

Information sources highlighting the election campaign can be found here.
Reports and analysis of the results in the Czech Republic general election held on the 20-21 October 2017.

Poll results gave the centrist ANO 2011 party (Action of Dissatisfied Citizens) a clear victory with 30% of the vote, which meant that the billionaire businessman and media mogul Andrej Babis, at the time awaiting trial on fraud charges, was likely to be the new Prime Minister.

The centre-right Civic Democratic Party (ODS) came second with 11% of the vote.

The ruling Czech Social Democratic Party received 7.3% of the vote, down from 20.5% at the 2013 election, and finished sixth in the league table of participating political parties.

The Czech Pirate Party (left-wing anto-establishment) and the Eurosceptic and anti-immigrant Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD)(right-wing anti-establishment) both received over 10% of the votes. The Communist Party came fifth in the election.

Despite their success Mr Babis and the ANO Party would need to build a coalition of parties to govern. Commentators speculated as to the nature of the coalition.

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Euro|Topics: Debates, October 2017: Will Babiš change the Czech Republic?
EUObserver, 23.10.17: [Analysis]: Populist victory puts Czech EU policy in doubt
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Blog: LSE EuroppBlog, 23.10.17: Election reaction: The Czech Republic shifts toward the Polish and Hungarian model
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