Czech opposition claims victory in regional and Senate vote

The Czech Republic’s main opposition Civic Democrats
of eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus have inflicted a fresh
election defeat on the ruling Social Democrats. The prime
minister has no intention of resigning.

The ruling Social Democrats (CSSD) finished third
after the Communists in the Czech Republic’s regional
and Senate elections on 5-6 November, with the main
opposition right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) claiming
a decisive victory.

At regional level, the ODS took 12 of the Czech
Republic’s 13 regions, garnering a record 36%
support. In the separate ballot for a third of the
81 Senate (upper chamber) seats, 25 ODS candidates
and only three CSSD candidates advanced to the run-offs,
scheduled for the coming weekend.

Overall voter turnout was 29%. Prime Minister
Stanislav Gross, Europe’s youngest premier aged
34, blamed the low turnout for his party’s
fiasco and said that he had no plans to resign. “At
this moment, spectacular changes would make no
sense,” he said.

Vaclav Klaus, who was founder and chairman of the
eurosceptic ODS until his election as president of the
Czech Republic in 2003, said that the election results
signalled the population’s belief that the Gross
government was not leading the country in the right

In June 2004, the ODS won the European Parliament
elections, prompting the reshuffle of the governing
coalition, which includes the CSSD, the Christian
Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People’s Party
(KDU-CSL) and the Freedom Union-Democratic Union



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