Vladimír Železný's Libertas.cz and Petr Mach's Party of Free Citizens (SSO) are both newly-formed eurosceptic parties planning to run candidates in the upcoming EU elections, which will be held on 5 and 6 June.
Libertas.cz is understood to be a sister party of Declan Ganley's Libertas.eu. However, it was founded by highly controversial MEP Vladimir Zelezny without the prior formal approval of Declan Ganley or his party headquarters in Brussels.
Železný distanced himself from Ganley, saying: "We have our own Ganley and he is totally consistent. It's Václav Klaus." Zelezny sees the Czech president as the "intellectual leader of all who point at the desperate lack of democracy in the EU" .
Libertas.cz is seeking to cooperate with the SSO by developing a common list of candidates. Libertas.cz was labelled "very conservative" by political scientist Tomáš Lebeda in an interview with Lidové noviny (22 January 2009).
According to Lebeda, the party is likely to engage in "right-wing populism" in the election campaign and thus compete for voters with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek's Civic Democratic Party (ODS).
However, Lebeda believes that ODS voters are unlikely to migrate to Libertas.cz in great numbers. A survey by ODS shows that Libertas.cz is expected to gain some 5% of the vote in June, 20% of which will come from former ODS voters, 25% from former CSSD (Social Democrats) voters and 30% from undecideds.
SSO was founded by Petr Mach, director of the Centre for Economics and Politics, a think-tank established by Vaclav Klaus in 1998. The party opposes the adoption of the euro, as well as the Lisbon Treaty.
Mach said in an interview that he would seek a referendum as late as 2016 or 2017 on the issue of adopting the common currency by 1 January 2020. He has also stated that he would vote against adopting the euro and would recommend citizens to vote 'no'. 53% of Czechs support monetary union.
No considerable shifts in policies on Europe have been observed by any of the major parties currently represented in the Czech parliament. Meanwhile, Jan Zahradil will again top the list of ODS candidates, which suggests a continuation of current Civic Democratic policies.
The CSSD's goal is to gain at least eight of the 22 seats open for Czech MEPs. This was made clear by the party's chair, Jiří Paroubek. CSSD currently polls between 35% and 40%, making it the leading party in the Czech Republic. CSSD won last year's regional and senate elections. Lebeda also expressed concern that there would be too many small parties running in June.
He said that the liberal right would once again fail to find common ground and fail to unite in order to become stronger and more competitive. The appeal of the elections to the general public is expected to be low.