Communist party ousted from parliament for first time in Czech Republic's history

The Communist Party has failed to cross the five-percent threshold to secure a seat in the Czech lower house, three years after falling out of the Senate.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 10.10.2021 10:45 (updated on 10.10.2021)

For the first time since the formation of the Czech Republic in 1993, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) will not be represented in either house of the Czech parliament. The party failed to cross the five percent threshold needed to retain seats in the Chamber of Deputies in this weekend's legislative elections.

The SPOLU alliance won the highest vote in the election, topping ANO and incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. They have already signed an agreement with the Pirates/STAN coalition, third in the election, on forming a new government.

For the Communist Party, the results are bitter if not unexpected. Voter interest in the party has been on a sharp decline over the past decade, and the KSČM failed to gain seats in the country's upper house, the Senate, in 2018 or 2020.

In 2017, the Communist Party won 7.8 percent of the vote in the Czech legislative election, the first time it had fallen below 10 percent. But the party gained relevance after forming a controversial coalition with winning party ANO, which was enough to give ANO a ruling majority in forming the Czech government.

For some, the alliance with center-right populist party ANO may have been a final straw. The Communist Party took just 3.6 percent of the vote in this weekend's election, and have now lost their seats in the Czech Chamber of Deputies, the country's lower house.

Going back into the history of the former Czechoslovakia, it will be the first time since 1925 that a communist political party is not represented in the Czech parliament.

Immediately following the election results, Communist Party chair Vojtěch Filip announced his resignation. Kateřina Konečná, a Member of the European Parliament representing the Czech Republic, announced her candidacy to replace him. 

An election congress for the Communist Party will be held on October 23. Petr Šimůnek and Václav Ort will lead the party in the interim.

"The entire executive committee of the KSČM has resigned, too, but only as of the date of the KSČM extraordinary congress on October 23," Filip told reporters on Saturday evening, expressing regret at the election results.

"We will see how this liberal-conservative solution, which emerged from the elections, will work in favor of the citizens," he said, alluding to the new alliance between the Together coalition and the Pirate/STAN parties.

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia was formed in 1989 after the fall of the Soviet regime by the former Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, anticipating a split between the countries.

2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Communist Party in the Czech lands.

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