Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Czech Republic - oh snap!

by Clifford F. Thies 

The ruling center-right coalition in the Czech Republic has fallen apart, and a snap election has been called for October 25-26. While center-right parties are on the advance in Australia and Norway, and have a good shot at retaining power in Germany in September elections, the left appears ascendent in the Czech Republic.

The proximate cause of the rupture of the ruling coalition was the fissure of the Public Affairs Party, the smallest of the three parties in the coalition, into its populist and libertarian wings. This, combined with continuing fiscal challenges, resulted in a failure of the government to pass a budget, requiring a snap election. 

The only poll we have at this time indicates that the main opposition party - the Social Democrats, would increase its representation in parliament. This party might rule in the minority with support from the suddenly resurgent Communist Party, or in coalition with two centrist parties that appear likely to enter parliament (the Party of Civic Rights and the Christian Democrats). 

Support for the center-right parties has collapsed to 30-odd percent. But, this one poll might not be indicative of the how things will shape up in the election. The current disarray in the center-right might resolve itself; and, much of the 20 percent of the electorate indicated in the poll to support splinter parties that will fail to make the threshold for representation in parliament, may shift to parties that will make the threshold. 

Finally, the prospect that the Social Democrats might rely on the Communist Party to gain power might sober up enough voters to turn this thing around.

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