Inconclusive election results leave Prague mayoral seat empty

Despite coming in first, the ODS-led group is having a hard time finding allies for a coalition. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.09.2022 15:51:00 (updated on 27.09.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

While local elections are over in Prague, their outcome is still not entirely clear. The grouping of Spolu came out on top, and will likely lead the new coalition in City Hall, but only if other parties agree to collaborate with them.

Spolu, made up of the Civic Democrats (ODS), TOP 09, and Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), took the most mandates in the election, namely 19. This puts them more than halfway to getting the majority, or 33 seats, in the 65-member City Assembly. The rest still need to be assigned.

Spolu’s leader is former mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, who was in office from 2010 to 2013. He can get his old job back if he manages to find the remaining 14 votes.

In the 2018 Prague municipal election, the ODS, again led by Svoboda, had the most votes but failed to find enough people to go along with them. The second-place Pirates, with 13 seats, managed to piece together a coalition instead, leaving the winner ODS in opposition.

This made Pirate Zdeněk Hřib the mayor. Based on the new election results, no grouping would see him keeping that job, though several options have the Pirates still in the ruling coalition.

The results this time are a bit different, with Spolu a more decisive winner. ANO came in second, with 14 seats, and the Pirates came in third with 13 seats, followed closely by Praha sobě also with 11. Mayors and Independents (STAN) has five seats. The right-wing group of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and other extremists ranked last, with three votes.

None of the parties is likely to work with SPD, so it is safe to leave them out of possible coalition calculations.

Four possible coalitions:

  • Spolu, Pirates, STAN: 37
  • Spolu, Praha sobě, STAN: 35
  • Spolu, ANO: 33
  • ANO, Pirates, Praha sobě, STAN: 43

This time, the Pirates can’t form a coalition on their own that would have enough support. Pirates, Praha sobě, and STAN have 29 votes. Even with the impossible addition of SPD, they would have 32 seats, one short of what they need.

The Pirates have made public their reluctance to work with ANO. On the national level, ANO is led by Andrej Babiš, who is currently on trial for fraud involving EU subsidies. So a grouping of ANO and others freezing out Spolu is possible, but not likely. The forward-looking political platforms of Pirates, Praha sobě, and STAN also have little in common with the more populist ANO.

But if we look to Ostrava in North Moravia, we can see that anything is possible. ANO took the most seats there and has already reached a coalition agreement with Spolu and the Pirates.

If ANO manages to create a broad coalition that excludes Spolu, then Patrik Nacher could be the next mayor. Nacher is an economist and currently a member of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament.

A stumbling block so far in negotiations has been that the Pirates don’t want to work with any politician currently facing criminal prosecution, and one of the Spolu leaders, Jan Wolf of the KDU-ČSL is facing indictment over sports subsidies.

“The pirates do not want criminally prosecuted persons in the leadership of Prague. This is not a surprising request. We have been saying this for a long time and we are committed to it by the post-election strategy. Moreover, it is generally important for the political culture in our country,” Hřib said on Twitter.

The Pirates also want to include Praha sobě, which was instrumental in creating many of the infrastructure projects that are currently underway. The group of Spolu, Pirates, and STAN already has enough seats without Praha sobě.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more