Czech mate?

Note: updated below from original planting.

Further update: See the comment below by Roman Chytilek, who notes how recent electoral-system changes affected the results.

The Czech election has ended in a “deadlock” with the Civic Democratic Party winning a plurality of seats, but lacking a majority, even after accounting for its preferred coalition partners, according to full preliminary results:

    Civic Democrats, 81 seats (+23 on 2002 result)
    *Social Democrats, 74 (+4)
    Communists, 26 (–15)
    *Christian Democrats, 13 (–18)
    Green, 6 (+6)

    (* In outgoing government, which also includes the Freedom Union. The FU appears to have been part of a joint list with the Christian Democrats in both elections.)

Six percent of votes were cast for parties that failed to cross the threshold, down from 12.5% in 2002, with most of the decline attributable to the success of the Greens this time. Still, I wonder if that 6% is skewed either towards left or right. If so, its exclusion would have contributed to the “deadlock.”

The Greens are an ally of the Civic Democrats, as are the Christian Democrats, despite their current participation in government with the Social Democrats (which appears to have cost them). Thus the Civic+Christian+Green bloc has half the seats. The two left parties hold the other half. (This would not happen with an odd number of seats in parliament!)

This will be interesting. The Communists are proposing a “government of national agreement” (thanks to RAC for the tip.) I was thinking the same thing, although I was imagining one without the Communists: Civic Democrats and Social Democrats. In contrast with next-door Germany, this would be a grand coalition consisting of two parties that each gained, compared to the previous election.

See also my election preview and discussion of the Green party’s list

0 thoughts on “Czech mate?

  1. Electoral rules mattered in this election! Civic Democrats + Christian Democrats + Greens scored nearly 49% of the vote compared to 45% of the left but both blocs secured the same 100 seats.
    District magnitude ranged from 5 to 25 seats, d´Hondt formula was used for the allocation of seats. The Greens with relatively evenly spread support (6,3% of the vote) were unable to obtain seats in smaller districts, while Christian Democrats (7,2 %) had their support less uniform, having gained twice the number of the seats compared to Greens but still remained underrepresented.
    Had the election been held under old rules (1992-1998 elections, Hagenbach-Bischoff formula + big districts), leftist parties would have been left with 97 seats only. On the contrary, less proportional rules (very small districts, modified D´Hondt formula) approved for the 2002 election but later ruled unconstitutional, would manufacture a 101 seat majority for the left (92 social democrats + 9 communists opposed to 98 civic democrats + 1 christian democrat)!
    *The Freedom Union contested the election with independent list but scored mere 0.3% of the vote.

  2. Also of interest is the role of 6000 odd expatriate votes – randomly allocated as per usual to one electoral district (in 2006 South Bohemia). Just over 50% of these went to the Civic Democrats with the left doing badly (as might be expected with Czech expats) Czech media report that the additional 2000+ votes gained by Civic Democrats gained them an additional seat at the expense of the Social Democrats. This had the important consequence of making a minority Social Democrat govt supported by the Communists an impossibility as Soc Dems and Communists seats only total 99/200. However, the Czech Statistical Office reportedly this is a misinterpretation as it no one tracked which votes were counted at which stage of the process. This does not seem to make sense as if we know that the Civic Democrats gained a net amount of votes after expats were added in, surely we can say that the allocation of expat votes to S Bohemia made a difference. Can you shed any light on the matter?

    Electoral districts are not uniform, I should add…

  3. Roman Chytilek wrote: “less proportional rules (very small districts, modified D´Hondt formula) approved for the 2002 election but later ruled unconstitutional”

    According to the constitution the electoral system should be PR. Was the law for the 2002 election unconstitutional because it wasn’t proportional enough of because of an other reason? (Where can I find this ruling in an English or German translation?)

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