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Czech legislative election, 2006

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2 and 3 June 2006  2010 →
Ústí nad Labem  South Moravia
70 seats, 30.20%  41 seats, 18.51%
Prague  Ústí nad Labem
58 seats, 24.47%  70 seats, 30.20%
81  74
Czech legislative election, 2006

Parliamentary elections were held in the Czech Republic on 2 and 3 June 2006.

Contents

The pre-election campaign was fierce and mostly negative. A major scandal broke out a few days before the elections when a classified report by the head of the anti-organised crime unit Jan Kubice was leaked to the media accusing the ruling Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) of corruption and meddling in police investigations. The two largest parties — the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the ČSSD profited from the divisive campaign and obtained the highest percentage of votes ever. Turnout of otherwise apathetic Czech voters increased, compared to the previous elections election in 2002.

The elections produced an evenly balanced result. One potential coalition – the ODS, Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and Greens (SZ) – won exactly half of the 200 seats, whilsy. The ČSSD and Communists (KSČM) held the other half, making the possibility of a minority Social Democratic government supported by the Communists equally problematic.

Ultimately the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and Greens formed a coalition government when a confidence vote was passed on 19 January 2007 (230 days after the elections), as two ČSSD deputies abstained.

Campaign

Several weeks before the elections, police officer Jan Kubice, head of the squad for uncovering organised crime, hinted that highest members of police and the government were trying to cover up their cooperation with organised crime. He was summoned before parliament commission few days before the election where he presented a document; contents of the document immediately leaked out.

The document suggested that former Prime Minister Stanislav Gross had connections with the criminal underground and hinted that Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek was indirectly involved in a murder, dealt with the mafia and was a pedophile. It also contained information about minor officials, some of whom had already been imprisoned on suspicions of bribery.

Paroubek and the others denied these claims and accused the opposition (ODS) of trying to manufacture a scandal to avoid electoral failure. After the elections, Paroubek said that the allegations cost his party (ČSSD) victory and that democracy was in as much danger as in 1948 (when the Communists seized power). Initially, he planned to challenge the election result.

Electoral system

The Chamber of Deputies consists of 200 members elected for a four-year term. Seats were allocated by proportional representation amongst those lists that gained at least 5% of the national total of valid votes cast.

Party lists were presented in 14 regions, with votes cast for a list, although were allowed up to two preference votes for candidates on that list.

The Czech Republic has a parliamentary system of government, with ministers being responsible to the Chamber of Deputies. The Chamber is the most powerful organ of the state with power to override vetoes by the President and the Senate.

Results

The election produced a deadlock, leaving the all the coalitions which were considered likely before the election (Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and Greens (SZ); Social Democrats (ČSSD) and Communists (KSČM); Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, and Greens) with less than the 101 votes necessary to pass legislation or to sustain the required confidence vote for the new cabinet in the Chamber of Deputies (100, 100 and 93 votes, respectively). Possibilities at this point include a highly improbable grand coalition of the Civic Democrats and Social Democrats, which would command a powerful majority, adding up to 155 seats against 45; a minority cabinet of either of the 100-vote coalitions, which would have to be at least partly negotiated with the would-be opposition to get the majority required to approve it and pass any legislation; or a new call for fresh elections.

On 26 June, ODS, KDU-ČSL and SZ announced, that they had agreed on a coalition.

References

Czech legislative election, 2006 Wikipedia


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