In the second round of the Senate elections in the Czech Republic, the conservative opposition has strengthened its position in the House of Lords. The governing parties are far behind their own expectations. But the participation of the citizens was weak.
The governing parties in the Czech Republic have experienced a fiasco in this year's Senate election: Contrary to expectations, the populist ANO of Prime Minister Andrej Babis won only in one constituency.
The Social Democrats (CSSD), the junior partner in the Prague minority government, also obtained only one mandate and thus lost their position as the strongest faction in the Senate.
Every two years more than one third of the 81 seats in the House of Lords are voted on. The conservative opposition emerges strengthened from the election. The Civic Democrats (ODS) got ten seats, the Mayor Party STAN in both rounds five, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) two and the pro-European TOP09 a seat. This emerges from the preliminary final result of the statistics office CSU after the runoff election on Friday and Saturday.
The participation of the approximately 2.6 million voters was 16.5 percent, just short of the historic low of 2016. The House of Lords of Parliament has a say in legislation and can prevent constitutional changes. Due to the different electoral system prevail in the chamber often – as well as currently – other majorities than in the House of Representatives. Politicians therefore call the Senate the country's most important "democracy insurance".
"Let us take a moment to enjoy the feeling of victory," said the chairman of the former Citizens' Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, Petr Fiala. Disappointment prevailed, however, in the losers. The ANO party founder, head of government and multi-billionaire Babis spoke of a "miserable" outcome of his party and immediately called for a change in the constitution: "This electoral system is not for us."
Social Democrat leader Jan Hamacek called on his party to pull together harder. "Governance on the side of the dominant Babis takes away their strength," said the political scientist Lukas Jelinek the German Press Agency. The return to the first league will be difficult for the left-wing tradition party. Even worse was the election for the Communists (KSCM): they lost their last representative in the Senate.