Voter casting ballot


Early Elections Won’t End Political Stalemate

Andrej Babiš, Miloš Zeman

Prague, May 30 (CTK) – Early general elections are likely to take place if Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) in their internal referendum say no to a joint cabinet with the ANO movement, but they would hardly change anything about the current stalemate, Jakub Pokorny writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.


An election would be held provided that ANO does not change their mind about not cooperating with the populist Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), which is not very probable, Pokorny adds.


Some politicians and voters view an early election as useless, highlighting its costs of 800 million crowns, while others look up to it with certain hope that it might weaken the position of ANO head Andrej Babis, he says.


But would an early election resolve anything, Pokorny asks.


First, it has to be said it is a normal part of the constitutional system and no failure as President Milos Zeman tries to insinuate, Pokorny writes.


Elections would either be held if the Chamber of Deputies decided to dissolve itself with the consent of at least its three fifths of deputies, or automatically after the third unsuccessful attempt of the prime minister at winning the confidence of the Chamber for his cabinet, he writes.


The fact that the latter option is incorporated in the constitutional law clearly shows that it is a standard matter whose objective is to help resolve political stalemates, Pokorny notes.


Second, it is a completely different question, and a more substantial one, whether early elections would resolve the current situation in the country, Pokorny asks, adding it probably would not.


He looks at sociological surveys to conclude that there would be only insignificant shifts of the results as compared to the 2017 election and that ANO would score similarly, winning again around 80 seats in the Chamber of 200, while the “democratic parties bloc” most likely would not gain the majority of 101 seats.


Andrej Babis is the last one to have to fear an early election. To the contrary, the CSSD, which lacks money, has a reason to be concerned, Pokorny notes.


The CSSD is heading for the cabinet under the condition that the prime minister resigns if a court finds him guilty, a condition connected with Babis’s prosecution over a suspected EU fraud, he writes.


However, this is a funny guarantee, because the court is not likely to rule in a complicated matter such as this any soon. The court case could be started in the course of 2019 at the earliest if the state attorney files the charge by the end of 2018, which is not very likely either, he adds.


The odds are that the verdict could be issued in 2020, before the next parliamentary election is due. Under these circumstances, it would be best to let Babis finish his ruling, Pokorny concludes.