The ANO movement has good starting conditions for the elections to the European Parliament, as well as the Spolu and Pirates coalitions. But at the same time, one of the biggest dramas of these elections can take place on the Spolu candidate. The KSČM could also be a dark horse. This is what political scientists interviewed told Echo24 in their initial estimate of the election’s development.
According to political scientist Pavel Šaradín from the Palacký University in Olomouc, the ANO movement remains the favorite in the elections. However, it will be important to what extent he can transfer the dissatisfaction with the government to the level of the European elections. This will require a huge mobilization, the physical commitment of Andrej Babiš and the credibility of the candidate’s leaders. According to today’s situation, he should win, but it won’t be the 33% that the polls show him today,” says Šaradín. “In the case of Spolu, it will depend on the compactness of the team, but especially on what condition the republic will be in, what inflation will be like, how much money we will pay for energy, how families will sign this year’s tax package and so on,” he added.
Otto Eibl from Masaryk University in Brno has a similar opinion. “The main fight will most likely take place between Spolu and ANO. How it turns out will depend on a number of factors. I would bet cautiously on a victory for YES, who can try to mobilize their voters against the government. ANO has been leading in polls for a long time, even though a different type of preference is measured, or rather a preference for a different type of election,” Eibl told Echo24, adding that Babiš had already raised the topic of “Strong Czech Republic” in the past, which resonated with voters, and there is no reason to it also failed in the European elections, which take place in June 2024.
Political scientist Jan Kubáček believes that the Pirates probably have the best entry conditions, because they are supported by the joint candidacy of the Spolu coalition. Kubáček mentioned two reasons. “However, because part of the potential voters of TOP 09 will look elsewhere, and with a high probability the Pirates can appeal to them. At the same time, the Pirates can sort of slyly define themselves against government partners for differences of opinion. The Pirates will definitely want to gradually distance themselves from the government with regard to the elections in 2025,” said Kubáček, adding that the Pirates may be in a more comfortable situation than the STAN movement.
“They do have Danuša Nerudová, unsophisticated and popular, who continues to draw on her support in the presidential election, but on the other hand, they are not able to distinguish themselves so much against Spolu. It is much more favorable for the Pirates from the point of view of voters and electoral strategy. The mayors will not be the ones who will say in 2025 that it was not their government, on the contrary, it will be the Pirates’ strategy,” believes Kubáček.
Elections to the European Parliament
– Date of event: Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June 2024
– There are currently 705 members of the European Parliament. The Czech Republic elects 21 of them.
– The European Parliament is the only directly elected transnational assembly in the world.
– EU citizens residing in another EU country can vote and run for office in that country.
– Members of the European Parliament sit in political groups according to their ideological affiliation. Parliamentary rules require each group to have at least 23 MEPs and represent at least one quarter of EU member states. There are currently seven political groups in the European Parliament.
“The initial situation can also be very advantageous for the SPD, because it can bet on the fact that it has actually been critical of the EU throughout its existence and does not have the weaknesses that, for example, the ODS or the ANO movement have, that they agreed to something somewhere, supported, they approved…” says Kubáček, adding that a lot can still happen before the elections, for example in the economy and especially in security, including the energy sector.
According to Kubáček, the marketing of the ANO movement will bet a lot on the fact that voters have a short memory and will not remember that it was actually his representatives who accepted the Green Deal. “But the problem is that for some voters the narrative of the ANO movement will not be strong enough, because some voters really hear the word ‘union’ and see red, and it will not be enough for them,” says Kubáček.
The black horse of the KSČM with Paroubek on the candidate list
Otto Eibl, on the other hand, does not expect a significant result for the SPD running together with Trikolora. “After all, it’s already quite tight in the nationally conservative space, and some more mainstream entities (typically ANO) are also moving into it. Smaller parties may have a problem with campaign financing, and some undecided voters may not notice them at all. If at least as many voters voted for these parties as in the elections to the Chamber of Deputies, they should have no problem succeeding. But that will most likely not happen, because at least part of the voters will stay at home and not participate in the elections,” said Eibl.
According to Pavel Šaradín from UPOL, the SPD and Trikolor, which are running together, will attack the campaign of Andrej Babiš and will wrestle with him for voters. “However, due to the distaste of my own voters for anything European, I do not expect a strong mandate. In a way, it could be the dark horse of the KSČM, which intends to spend up to 40 million crowns on the campaign, to unite with small left-wing parties, including Jana Volfová’s ČSSD, for whom Jiří Paroubek is supposed to run… however, being a dark horse in this case means defending one mandate, ” says Šaradin.
In connection with the potential dark horse of the elections, political scientist Kubáček said that smaller parties will have a hard time establishing themselves and gaining attention. He described the connection of the SPD with Trikolora or, for example, SOCDEM with smaller parties as psychological help, rather than the fact that these smaller parties could bring thousands of extra votes to the larger ones. “They can show that they don’t want to fragment or bring interesting personalities to the candidate list. Success for these parties will be if they even manage to get into the European Parliament,” says Kubáček.
According to Šaradín, it is still difficult to predict the other parties because they don’t even have leaders. According to him, the outcome of the STAN movement depends on the condition of the Pirates and Spolu. According to Eibel, one of the biggest dramas will take place on the Spolu candidate. “It can be expected that voters will use preferential votes and it will be interesting to see how it all turns out in the end. The already mentioned participation will play a role – the fewer people come to the polls, the more space opens up for smaller entities with disciplined voters,” says Eibl.
However, according to Kubáček, a higher voter turnout than in the past can be expected. “Perhaps by five percentage points and it will be very interesting to watch the development,” said Kubáček. “The specific entity that may surprise me, I will not venture to guess now. But I think that it will be the party or movement that manages to finish the campaign, who will be heard the most in the end,” said Kubáček.