“Elections in the Czech Republic on 20 and 21 October once again reaffirmed the general European trend: the ideological movement of the electorate to the right, the loss of influence of the social-democratic parties, and the rise of populism in the wake of the migration crisis,” RISS expert Oksana Petrovskaya noted. The main beneficiary of these parliamentary elections became the leader of the ANO movement, the future Prime Minister Andrew Babish, notable for his similarities with the current American President.
“Election results to the Czech parliament brought a lot of surprises,” added RISS expert. As it was expected, the center-right party Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO) gained 29,64% of the vote and won the victory. ANO essentially put an end to the 25-year-old domination of right and left coalitions in October 2017. The rest of the parties that gained more than 5% of the votes and entered the Parliament left behind the ANO. The following three parties, the Civil Democratic Party (ODS), the Pirate Party (Piráti), and the Party of Direct Democracy (SPD) gained approximately the same number of votes – 10-11%.
For the ruling Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) it is the lowest result since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993. The Social Democrats headed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka were unable to use neither the administrative resources nor the success of socio-economic development of the country over the past four years.
The main points in the election campaign in the Czech Republic were security, refugees, and migrants, so the defeat of the Social Democrats is a European trend. After the elections in Austria and Germany the Social Democrats began to rule in only 7 of the 28 European States (in 2000 they ruled in 15 countries). After joining the EU in 2004 the Czech Republic has made visible steps towards economic progress. However, 2/3 of Czechs believe that EU membership has brought more harm than profit.
Foreign policy of the Czech Republic will largely depend on the structure of the ruling party. In his first victory speech Babish assured the voters of the commitment to the European Union and NATO, but declared that the Czech Republic wanted to play an active role in the shaping of the European policy. In an interview with Reuters Babish said that the Visegrad group would have to find new allies among Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and other Balkan countries. The Czech Republic together with Austria and Hungary could initiate the abolition of EU sanctions against Russia.