The Czech Republic is heading for a new centre-right coalition favouring tough austerity measures, following the country’s general election.
The leader of the main leftist party has conceded that the vote was “certainly not a success” and that it was clear his opponents were going to form a government.
With 99% of votes counted, the left wing Social Democrats have the most support (22.2%). It was thought they might share power with the Communists (12.16%).
But the pro-business Civic Democrats are not far behind the Social Democrats, in second place with just over 20%. With their two potential allies, the Conservatives (16.6%) and Public Affairs (10.9%), they could form a narrow majority in parliament – bringing to an end several years of political deadlock.
Now it seems the Czech Republic, under a Civic Democrat-led coalition, could sample a bout of belt tightening to avoid a Greek-style economic crisis.
“If these results are confirmed, it would give a great chance to create a coalition of fiscal responsibility – a coalition that this country needs in these uneasy times and one we’re ready to create,” said Civic Democrat leader Petr Necas.
The Social Democrats had pledged to raise taxes on businesses and the rich to increase welfare benefits. But they accepted they had lost.
“It seems the people chose the direction in which our country should go, and it’s a different direction from the one the Social Democrats offered,” said the party leader Jiri Paroubek.
The Czech Republic has had an interim administration since the old centre-right government fell during the country’s EU presidency over a year ago. The polls had suggested another political logjam was likely, but this election seems to have given the right another chance.