Populist ANO party tops Czech EP elections amid right-wing EU wave

Although the government still has more seats in the EP than ANO, substantial losses for some coalition parties spell bad news for the prime minister.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 10.06.2024 10:31:00 (updated on 10.06.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

The populist opposition ANO movement scored the highest amount of votes after Czechia went to the polls for the 2024 European Parliament (EP) elections, fitting in with the trend of right-wing parties performing well at the multi-state elections on the continent. Czechs wanted to make their voices heard, posting a record turnout at the EP elections.

Right-wing parties do well

ANO won with 26.14 percent, claiming seven seats in the EP – one more than in the 2019 selection. The Spolu (Together) coalition – featuring the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats, and Top 09 – that currently rules the Czech government came closely behind, with 22.2 percent of the vote and six members of European Parliament (MEPs). 

In third place came Přísaha and Motorists, a populist, right-wing to far-right party that has in the past faced accusations of neo-Nazism. This electoral alliance gained two seats in the EP (and 10 percent of the common Czech vote). The left-wing to far-left Stačilo! (Enough!) political coalition also gained around 10 percent of the vote and elected two MEPs.

Light blue spots indicate votes for ANO, navy blue votes are those for Spolu (Source: Flourish Data/Czech Statistical Office)
Light blue spots indicate votes for ANO, navy blue votes are those for Spolu (Source: Flourish Data/Czech Statistical Office)

A total of 21 MEPs will represent Czechia in the 720-seat EP. Ten of 14 Czech MEPs seeking re-election defended their seats.

Poor showing from coalition partners

The Mayors and Independents party, which is part of the current domestic coalition, performed poorly in the vote, getting less than 9 percent of the vote. It also elected two MEPs – one less than in 2019. The Pirates similarly performed poorly, losing two MEPs in this vote. The far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party and Tricolor coalition barely crossed the 5 percent threshold and elected one MEP; leader Tomio Okamura called the result a “failure.”

Prague and Brno voted almost exclusively for Spolu, whereas swathes of Moravia, Ústí nad Labem, and the Karlovy Vary region voted ANO. 

Leader of ANO Andrej Babiš told the media in the early hours of today: "Tomorrow we go to work, so we won't actually celebrate. We are all happy. It is a great satisfaction. We worked hard.” Prime Minister Petr Fiala was more lukewarm about the outcome: "We have achieved a decent result. We are neither excited nor disappointed. Six seats was the minimum threshold for success in these elections.”


Czechs voted with their feet

According to political analysts, Czechia’s high turnout – at over 36 percent – was a broad vote against the government. Political scientist at Prague's CEVRO University Ladislav Mrklas says that: "The more people who vote, the greater the potential for opposition parties to gain support, regardless of their political beliefs."

Political scientist Jan Kubáček told Czech media outlet Novinky.cz: “I think it's a huge cold shower for the government coalition. If you look at the results, it is a huge debacle for the Pirates, because they had fewer votes in Prague than the ANO movement, which is a warning.”

Success for Czechia’s right-wing parties echoes developments in Germany and France where in the latter President Emmanuel Macron called a snap parliamentary election after the right-wing Rassemblement National party got almost one-third of the vote. In Germany, the rightist Alternative for Germany party gained a huge seven seats and received the second-highest vote share. Right-wing parties also performed well in Austria, with the Freedom Party accruing the highest vote share. 

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