Czech Republic: a Pyrrhic victory for Andrej Babiš?
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his party Ano won the regional elections this weekend. However his partners in the national government - the social democrats and the communists - suffered such great losses that forming a coalition at the regional level will now be more difficult. This strengthens the position of the conservative and liberal opposition parties in the 2021 general election, the press concludes.
Bittersweet success for the PM
Although Babiš and his Ano movement have every reason to be satisfied there is a catch, Seznam Zprávy puts in:
“Babiš is the first prime minister whose party has won regional elections since the regions were founded. Ever since 2000 voters have generally used regional elections to punish the current government. However his way of dealing with his myriad of conflicts of interest has radically diminished Ano's potential for forming coalitions with the centre-right parties. The fact that the left has suffered heavy losses has left Ano politically isolated. After the coalition talks it's quite possible that Ano will find itself in the opposition, despite its victory in terms of numbers.”
Real political competition possible again
Everyone can feel like a winner except the Social Democrats and Communists, Lidové noviny comments:
“The opposition has learned that by joining forces it can successfully fight Babiš and the Ano movement which has been dominant for years. The prime minister will not like that. But that, too, is good news. So far, those opposing the prime minister have looked more like sheep on their way to slaughter. If in the future two blocs of roughly equal strength face each other, this will make the political competition more exciting and can only work in the people's favour.”