velvet revolution


Babis Welcomes Communist Comeback

Andrej Babiš, Czech Communists, KSCM

Prague, July 2 (CTK) – A selection of data on the Communist Party (KSCM), which last weekend promised to support the new minority government of the ANO movement and the Social Democrats (CSSD) in the confidence vote to be taken next week, and its position on the Czech political scene:


– After the fall of the Czechoslovak Communist regime in 1989, many people predicted a gradual decline of the Communists, but they did not disappear from the political scene. On the contrary, the KSCM has become a party that has always succeeded to enter the Chamber of Deputies in the general election so far. However, the KSCM has remained in the opposition on the national level until now.


– The Communists have the highest number of members of all political parties in the country, although this number is shrinking. The KSCM had 37,000 members at the end of 2017 and their average age was about 75, while ten years ago it was 70. In 1998, there were 140,000 registered Communists and in 1992 even over 350,000.


Last autumn, the KSCM ended in the fifth position in the general election, having won 7.76 percent of the vote and 15 seats in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies. This has been the party’s worst result since its foundation in 1921. In spite of this, KSCM leader Vojtech Filip gained the post of a deputy chairman of the Chamber again. Filip was lower house deputy chairman also in 2002-06, 2006-2010 and 2013-17. He has been the only KSCM politician who occupied such high post in the post-Communist era.


– In the previous elections, the KSCM usually was the third strongest party. In the 2013 elections it won 14.91 percent of the vote and 33 seats in the lower house. In the 2010 election it was fourth and gained 26 seats.


– The KSCM achieved its best election result in 2002 when nearly 900,000 people cast their votes for it. This represented 18.5 percent of the vote and 41 MPs in the lower house. The party had a deputy chairman of the house for the first time then.


– Filip has been the party’s leader since 2005. Under him, the Communists increased their influence. This was most apparent before the 2006 elections when an unofficial coalition of the CSSD and the KSCM often pushed bills through parliament, although the government parties were the CSSD, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and Freedom Union (US-DEU).


The KSCM supported a Czech government in a confidence vote only once, in mid-2013, when they backed the caretaker cabinet of Jiri Rusnok, which failed to win the vote despite their support then, however. The KSCM abstained from the confidence vote four times (Milos Zeman leftist cabinet 1998, Stanislav Gross centre-left cabinet 2004, Jan Fischer caretaker cabinet 2009 and Bohuslav Sobotka centre-left cabinet 2014). In the remaining seven confidence votes the Communists voted against the government.


– The regional election in October 2008 became a turning point for the KSCM: the party took part in some regional governments for the first time after 1989 thanks to coalitions with the victorious CSSD. In the Usti Region, the party has had the regional governor, Oldrich Bubenicek, since 2012. In northern Moravia, KSCM politicians won mayors in two towns, the industrial Karvina and Havirov.


– Before Filip, the KSCM was led by Miroslav Grebenicek (from 1993 to 2005). In his era, the Communists established themselves as the third strongest group in parliament, but no other party was ready to openly cooperate with them. However, all parties negotiated with the KSCM in the backstage. The Communist votes helped Vaclav Klaus to be elected president in 2003.


The KSCM is traditionally seldom successfully in the Senate elections. The party has only one senator in the 81-member upper house of parliament now. It never had more than two senators.


– In the 2016 regional election, the Communists were third after ANO and the CSSD and won 86 mandates. In the 2012 regional election they won 182 mandates.


– In the 2014 European elections, the KSCM won three of the 21 MEPs.


– The constituent congress of the KSCM was held on March 31, 1990. In December 1989, a congress of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC) decided on the creation of Czech (KSCM) and Slovak (KSCS) organisations, which were part of the federative KSC until April 1992. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split in two countries.


– The KSCM is a successor to the totalitarian KSC which was founded in 1921. The leftist faction of the Social Democrats split off the party then.