European Parliament Elections

A brief intro to the major EP parties

As an EU citizen living in another EU country you are allowed to cast your vote for the European Parliament here also (if you have already registered that is.) You could simply go for the party that is in the European fraction your national party would be in; there tends to be good consensus, but before you do, take a look at some other options. Here are some of the parties, what they stand for and in which camp they belong. We narrowed it down to a selection of the bigger parties, but officially there are 31-33 parties on the ballot. The number in front of the party name is their ballot party number; included to make ballot identification easier. In parenthesis is which EP group the local group belongs to.

2. KDU CSL/Christian Democrats (European Parliament group: European Peoples Party and European Democrats) Slightly right from the middle; the local Christian Democratic Party is surprisingly successful considering the number of Christians in the country. They call themselves “conservatives” and say good moral values should return to Czech politics, which they are probably right about.

4. ODS/Civic Democrats (EP group: EPP EP) Generally seen as right from the middle; this is the party of former prime minister Mirek Topolanek. They stand for liberal economic policies and low taxes to support economic growth. When President Klaus chaired ODS they were often characterized as ‘euro sceptic´ in the tradition of i.e. Margaret Thatcher. Since his departure (he did not want to become honorary chairman) they have become more pro European and were in favour of the Lisbon treaty.

8. CSSD/Czech Socialist Party (EP group: PES, European Socialists) CSSD is the typical social democrat party as we see it in many European countries, advocating a solid social services system, good pensions and healthcare.  In their campaign, they have constantly stressed they want to make policies that offer the population security and tackle the economic crisis; and they have made a plan consisting of 62 main points to ensure they do this.

21. KSCM/Communist Party (EP group: European United Left and Nordic Green Left) The daughter of the party that lead the country before 1989. They claim they have evolved into a modern left wing party and have joined other modern left wing parties in the EUL-NGL. They are capitalism sceptic but deal with current individual problems such as the financial crisis quite pragmatically for now and call for a deeper nationwide discussion on finding new ideas for the future.

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24. SNK ED/European Democrats. Also part of the EPP ED, like the Christian Democrats; however on the more middle side of the group. A modern party focused on building a modern state, they would like to stop the euro sceptic ODS and want to offer a reasonable alternative in the middle between CSSD on the left and ODS on the right.

26. Strana zelenych (EP group: European Green Party) (not to be confused with zeleni (30) or demokraticka strana zelenych (11). The Green Party has existed since the mid ‘90s but has been quite successful lately, participating in the recently fallen government. They belong to the more moderate of parties in the EGP. Interesting to note is that, as far as we know, they are the only party that have non-Czech EU citizens on their candidate list.

There are several independent candidates that seem to have a chance (independent candidates were good for 8,2% of the votes in the last EP elections), one of them was the still popular former director of TV NOVA Mr.  Železný who is now with the Libertas party (1) and the still independent and popular Jana Bobošiková on the Suverenita list (5).

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Conclusion

Since ODS, KDU and SNK are all part of the EPP-ED group, the actual changes in policy might not be that big or noticeable when consensus voting is done EP-group wide. Still if you would like more economically liberal policies ODS would be the one to go with; KDU if you want to see slightly more moderate and Christian policies and EPP-ED could be considered more moderate and slightly more progressive.

On the left, things are slightly more clear as the Green party is the most moderate of all (sometimes confusing for foreigners, as green parties in other European countries can be quite radical), CSSD your more typical social democrat party and KSCM is quite obviously the more radical left choice.

Surprisingly none of the current Czech parties represent the ALDE (FKA. ELDR); the third largest group in the EP. In case you are interested in voting for a party represented in the ELDR, you would be best off choosing one of the EPP ED parties.

Interesting note

“Remarkable” is the name of the right block, their party´s name is 133 words long thanks to a gap in the law which allowed them to get half their programme on the ballot paper. Critics however say they don´t really go beyond the 133 words. There has been some discussion whether or not the small parties really have a chance; this is partly because these elections are being used by the bigger parties more to fight each other at home than to really discuss European issues. The latest polls however indicate neither the Green Party nor the European Democrats will garner enough votes to make the cut.


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