I arrived back in Prague from San Francisco this afternoon right as the first exit polls were released, showing that ODS was going to win the Czech general election. The official results aren’t in yet, but it looks like this is the end of the Social Democrats’ reign.
According to aktualne.cz, the preliminary results are as follows:
- ODS – 35.9 %
- CSSD – 32.4 %
- KSCM – 12.8 %
- KDU-CSL – 7.2 %
- Greens – 6.3%
It’s now after 9pm and I’ve just watched Prime Minister Paroubek just had his press conference. He was _pissed off_ and threatened to have the election results challenged because of ODS’ negative campaign. He also openly said that the leftist parties – CSSD and the Communists – together have a majority 101 votes in parliament, and that a possible coalition of ODS, the Greens and KDU-CSL would only have 100 votes.
Paroubek’s press conference had the tone of a temper tantrum. He basically confirmed one of the things most Czechs either openly or quietly feared: that he would let the Communists into the government.
Here’s my translation of this article from Aktualne.cz tonight:
Prague – In an unprecedentedly-sharp speech, Prime Minister JiÅ™Ã Paroubek evaluated ÄŒSSD’s election results.
JiÅ™Ã Paroubek announced that the Social Democrats are considering the possibility of legal action to confirm whether the elections were fair.
He wants to turn to the Supreme Court over how his competitors ran their campaigns.
‘Blue totalitarianism,’ liars and hate – the vocabulary Paroubek used, brought the Czech Republic back to the days of the toughest pre-election duels.
Paroubek feels like the winner, and announced that the leftists together have 101 mandates and that TopolÃ¡nek, the ODS chairman, will not be able to form a majority coalition. He especially announced this to President VÃ¡clav Klaus, who only a half-hour before marked the Civic Democrats [ODS] as the number one in the elections, and on Monday wants to meet with their leader, TopolÃ¡nek, for post-election meetings.
Who is responsible for this?
The ÄŒSSD leader sees the media in ODS’ camp, liars among the police and criminals as the culprits in the post-election situation.
“I would normally congratulate the victor, but I’m not going to do that,” Paroubek announced and then praised his own economic policy.
“ODS mobilized its sources and in cooperation with the media unleashed a hateful campaign. When even that wasn’t enough, they reached for malicious gossip and techniques used before November 1989,” he literally said.
At the same time he mentioned similar techniques, he also deviated: He announced that the leader of ODS’ parliamentary club, Vlastimil TlustÃ½, knew the murdered underworld boss and businessman FrantiÅ¡ek MrÃ¡zek well.
“ODS themselves covered up the fact that their politicians – for example Vlastimil TlustÃ½ – demonstrably met with the businessman MrÃ¡zek. In short, ODS and certain branches of the Czech police have clearly come under the tow of the gray economy.
TlustÃ½ shortly after countered with an announcement that he will file a lawsuit against Paroubek. “I have never seen him, never met with him. It is a lie,” TlustÃ½ told AktuÃ¡lnÄ›.cz.ODS, in reaction to JiÅ™Ã Paroubek, announced that this is simply about the prime minister’s inability to admit defeat. “And also the unwillingness to let the police investigate this government’s corruption scandals,” deputy chairman Petr NeÄas announced.
He marked Paroubek’s speech as undemocratic: “It was the speech of a pre-1989 functionary. I think that at this time any party will have a problem sitting down at the meeting table with such a party to resolve the next government.
The Prime Minister did not respond to this. Immediately after his speech he quickly went out of reach of journalists; he did not allow any further questions. And neither did any of the ÄŒSSD leadership. Deputy Chairman Bohuslav Sobotka behind his back added: “No questions. That is all. The end.”