Czech polls suggest support for Social Democrats slipping

By bne IntelliNews September 25, 2013

bne -

Previously seen as a shoo-in to form the next Czech government, support for the Social Democrats (CSSD) is sliding sharply, a recent poll suggests. That raises the likelihood that the next administration could set new standards for instability.

The CSSD is set to capture just 30.5% of the vote at the snap elections set for October 25, according to the survey, which was released on September 24 by the CVVM polling agency. The poll roughly corresponds to recent surveys conducted by the ppm factum and STEM, reports CTK.

Earlier this year, with the right-wing parties hugely hit by the previous government's harsh austerity programme, CSSD's support had pushed over 40%. However, the party has clearly been hijacked by power-hungry President Milos Zeman, which will have drained some support - particularly among middle-class urban voters.

The recent poll results "increases the chance that CSSD will not hit one-third of votes, and may struggle to form even a minority government," suggest analysts at Commerzbank.

At the same time, voters on the right now appear to be rallying around a new party - Ano 2011. Set up by billionaire Andrej Babis, the party is set to finish third with 14% - after the CSSD (30.5%) and the Communist Party (19.5%) - according to the poll.

The leading candidate of a raft of new parties looking to enter parliament, Ano 2011 is benefitting from the disillusionment of voters with the right-wing parties that made up the last coalition under PM Petr Necas. The Civic Democrats's support has now plummeted to mere 7%, while TOP 09 has seen its support drop to 12.5%.

However, like the others hopeful of making a debut in the lower house, Ano 2011 struggles for experience, structure and a comprehensive political programme. Analysts worry that the disillusionment of the population with politicians of all stripes leaves them open to populist messages from small new parties that are simply not robust enough to survive the rough and tumble of parliament, which would see the next government even more unstable than usual.

SPOZ, the party officially sanctioned by Zeman, and previously seen as a viable coalition partner for the CSSD would just crawl across the 5% threshold, the poll predicts. Meanwhile, the centre-right Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) is set to fail to enter parliament yet again.

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