CZECH REPUBLIC
Parliamentary Chamber: Poslanecka Snemovna

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  Poslanecka Snemovna


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  14 June 2002
15 June 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the Chamber of Deputies on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Czechs went to the polls on 14 and 15 June 2002 to decide which Government would lead them towards European Union membership, possibly in 2004, and which Parliament would choose the successor to President Vaclav Havel, whose term was due to end in February 2003.

The two main parties in the race were the governing Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) and the main opposition, the centre-right Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of former Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus. During the electoral campaign, both parties focused their programmes on accession to the EU and on promises of strong economic performance. Outgoing Prime Minister Milos Zeman, who announced that he would retire after the elections, and his successor as party leader, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr Vladimir Spidla, differed with Mr Klaus on budgets.

The main obstacle politicians had to overcome before the 2002 elections was voter apathy. According to analysts, one of the main reasons for this apathy was that there were very few new faces contesting the polls. In fact, turnout was only about 58 per cent, much lower than the 74 per cent registered in the 1998 elections.

In the election to the Chamber of Deputies, the leftist Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) was returned with the largest number of seats for the second consecutive time. The party failed to secure an overall majority, however, winning only 70 of the 200 seats in the Chamber, four less than its score in the previous elections in 1998. The opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) won 58 seats, that is 5 less than its score of 63 in 1998. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) was the only party to increase its representation, taking 41 seats (17 more than in 1998). The centre-right Coalition, formed by the Christian Democratic Union-Czech People's Party (KDU-CSL) and Freedom Union-Democratic Union (US-DEU), obtained 31 seats, eight fewer than in 1998.

On 17 June 2002, President Vaclav Havel officially entrusted the CSSD leader, Mr Vladimir Spidla, with the task of forming the country's next government. Following negotiations with the leaders of the Coalition (Christian Democratic Union, Czech People's Party, Freedom Union-Democratic Union), a final agreement on the country's new government was reached on 8 July 2002.

The newly elected Chamber of Deputies held its inaugural sitting on 9 July 2002 with the ceremonial swearing-in of deputies. The members then elected Mr. Lubomir Zaoralek as their new Speaker.

On 17 July 2002, Mr Spidla was sworn in as the new Prime Minister.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (14 June 2002): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 8 264 484
Voters 4 789 145 (58 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 21 139
Valid votes 4 768 006

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) 1 440 279 30.21
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) 1 166 975 24.48
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) 882 653 18.51
Coalition 680 671 14.28

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) 70
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) 58
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) 41
Coalition 31

Comments:
  Coalition:
  • Christian Democratic Union - Czech People's party (KDU - CSL)
  • Freedom Union - Democratic Union (US - DEU)
  • Distribution of seats according to sex:  
    Men: 166
    Women: 34
    Percent of women: 17.00


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    Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union