Protest Vote Marks Czech Elections

May 29, 2010, midnight

Parliamentary elections on May 28-29 are likely to give a center-right coalition the largest governing mandate in country history. Although the left-of-center Social Democrats (CSSD) captured more votes than any other party, their seat total is smaller than the combined totals of the right-of-center Civic Democrats (ODS); Tolerance, Responsibility, Prosperity (TOP 09); and Public Affairs (VV) parties. These three parties now control a combined 118 out of 200 seats. Professor Andrew ROBERTS of Northwestern University noted that the amount of preferential votes cast nearly doubled from the 2006 elections. The Czech Republic's proportional representation system lets voters express preferences for individual candidates within party lists. In 2006, 1.9 million voters cast preferential votes, compared to 3.7 million in this election. ROBERTS interprets this as indication that voters, displeased with the parties' leaders, are looking for fresh faces.

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