Voting has started in the Czech Republic to elect a new parliament after the incumbent government resigned following a corruption and bribery scandal – and the subsequent caretaker government lost a confidence vote in August.
Twenty four parties are presenting nearly 6,000 candidates for 200 seats in the lower chamber and voting will continue over two days.
The Social Democratic party is widely expected to do well in the vote, with a campaign focused on pledges to relax austerity measures and improve social conditions.
The social democrats may however, fail to get a large enough majority to form a government outright, in which case they will be looking for coalition partners.
Jiri Pehe, a political analyst, said: “Right from the beginning, there was a strong connection between economic and political interests which and then became cronyism. That obviously provoked a huge reaction and people see corruption in all these parties. So the main topic of the campaign has been a series of attacks on established political parties.”
Other parties expected to do well include the communists, independent party Ano, the centre-right party TOP 09 and the right-wing democrats.