Czech Republic. After severe political divisions, the Czech Republic had lived with an expedition minister for almost a year, when President Václav Klaus in February announced elections.
Former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek was forced to leave his post as leader of the market-oriented Democratic Citizenship Party, ODS, following scandalous statements about both the church and Jews and homosexuals. Topolánek’s departure paved the way for Petr Nečas as party leader and top candidate for ODS in the May elections.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Czech Republic has a population of 10.65 million (2019). The Social Democrats, CSSD, led a lot in public opinion and had the support of close to a third of voters. But in the election, the party had to settle for 22 percent of the vote, not long before the ODS, which took 20.2 percent. Both lost large votes to two new parties, the Conservative TOP 09 (Tradition, Responsibility and Prosperity) and the middle-right party VV (Public Affairs). TOP 09, led by the 72-year-old aristocrat and former Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, took 16.7 percent of the vote and the VV 10.9 percent. The Communist Party retained its position and gained 11.3 percent.
It was the center-right parties that got the majority in the newly elected parliament. New ODS leader Petr Nečas began negotiating a coalition that could implement the unpopular measures needed to reduce the budget deficit both in the short and long term. For the 2011 budget, Nečas wanted to reduce public salaries. In addition, both the pension system and the healthcare system were considered in need of fundamental reforms, that is, deterioration and rationalization.
One month after the election, Petr Nečas was able to present a settlement between ODS, TOP 09 and VV, which together had 118 of 200 seats. In early July, the tripartite government took office with Nečas as prime minister, TOP leader Schwarzenberg as foreign minister, and VP leader Radek John as home minister.
In September, the government presented its tough budget proposal for 2011 with, among other things, a 10 percent pay cut for public employees. The goal was to keep the budget deficit at a maximum of 4.6 percent of GDP, to gradually reduce it to 2.9 percent in 2013 and to make the Czech Republic ready for accession to the euro zone.
The savings package led to protests and demonstrations. In October, ODS then had to pay for the coalition’s savings proposal. In the local elections, the party lost power in Prague, and in the midterm elections to the Senate the opposition was successful. The Social Democrats won a majority, albeit barely, in the Senate.
In November, Prime Minister Petr Nečas explained that if Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab and the British group BAE Systems want to be included in the next bidding for the Czech Republic’s purchase of fighter aircraft, they must first give a full account of the information that there was bribery when the Czech Republic hired 14 Gripenplan by Sweden.