Opposition coalition tops incumbent ANO in 2021 Czech legislative election

Only four parties have crossed the five-percent threshold to enter the Czech lower house, with SPOLU edging ANO in the lead.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 09.10.2021 18:46 (updated on 09.10.2021)

SPOLU, a center-right opposition coalition made up of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), and TOP 09, has narrowly edged ANO and incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in the 2021 Czech legislative election.

ANO had led in all previous polls and for the majority of the vote count after polling stations closed at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.

With 97% of the votes counted, ANO still had a slight edge. But votes in the capital city of Prague took the longest to tally, and leaned heavily enough toward SPOLU to give the opposition coalition enough to pull ahead at the very end.

"You called for an end and I thank you for it," TOP 09 head Markéta Pekarová Adamová tweeted.

"Now our common task is to form a government that will bring change."

Only four political parties garnered enough votes to make it into the Czech Chamber of Deputies. With 99.9% of ballots now tallied, SPOLU has earned 27.8% of the vote, ANO 27.2%, a coalition between the Pirates and STAN 15.6%, and SPD 9.6%.

The result is a decisive one, as it means that incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is most likely on his way out.

According to a 2020 agreement, ODS head Petr Fiala will be SPOLU's nominee for the next Prime Minister of the Czech Republic.

"Dear voters, thank you for your support!" Fiala wrote on Facebook.

"TOGETHER you have accomplished something that many have never dreamed of. The oligarch is defeated and the Democrats have won! Thank you!"

Under Czech law, if no single party takes the majority, the remaining parties will be given the opportunity to form a ruling majority. This majority will nominate a Prime Minister to the President of the Czech Republic for approval.

Both SPOLU and the Pirates/STAN coalition have previously stated that they will not from an alliance with ANO, and will have enough seats between them to form a majority without the participation of ANO.

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Given only four parties crossed the five-percent threshold, ANO would not be able to form a majority alliance with SPD, the only other party to gain seats.

President Miloš Zeman previously stated that he would give the party with the highest total vote the first chance to form a ruling alliance. That will now be SPOLU, who are almost certain to form that alliance with the Pirates/STAN coalition.

Without a single party taking a majority, however, the President plays a pivotal role in moving the government process forward. Given Zeman's health troubles over recent weeks, that role has been called into question.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, more than 65% of those eligible to vote in the election have taken part, with votes still left to count.

It will be the highest turnout in a Czech legislative election since 1998.

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