Czechs elect new government

The Czech general elections of 14-15 June will decide whether the Czech Republic will be led into the EU by a pro-European Socialist or a Euro-skeptic Conservative government.

The governing Social Democrats, headed by Vladimir Spidla, were at the top of opinion polls with 28 per cent of the votes before the election. However, they were closely followed by the Conservative Civic Democratic Party, led by Vaclav Klaus, who received 24 per cent of voting intentions.

The polling stations opened at 2pm Central Europe Time on Friday, 14 June, and will close at the same time on Saturday, 15 June. Exit polls are due almost immediately.

If the results are as close as predicted, the Czechs could get either a minority government or face a long period of coalition negotiations.


On 14-15 June, Czech voters will elect 200 deputies to the lower house of the Czech Parliament for a four-year mandate under a proportional voting system. A record 29 political parties registered to participate in the elections.

For the last four years, the Czech Republic was governed by a coalition of the Social Democratic Party, the biggest parliamentary party, and the Civic Democratic Party, the second biggest parliamentary party. The two parties co-operate on the basis of an agreement on "support without participation". The Civic Democratic Party leader, Vaclav Klaus, became the Speaker of the Parliament under this agreement.


The result of the parliamentary election will have an impact on the election of a new President of State in January 2003, who will replace the current President, Vaclav Havel. The President is elected by Parliament under the Czech constitution.


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