CZECH REPUBLIC
Parliamentary Chamber: Poslanecka Snemovna

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1998

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Chamber:
  Poslanecka Snemovna


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  19 June 1998
20 June 1998


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the Chamber of Deputies after the adoption of a constitutional law that shortened the duration of this body. Previous general elections had been held in May-June 1996.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Growing tensions in the minority coalition Government of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) ultimately led to his resignation on 30 November 1997 over financial scandals. A caretaker administration headed by Mr. Josef Tosovsky was then installed. On 26 March 1998, pursuant to an exceptional constitutional amendment, the term of the current Chamber of Deputies was cut in half, to two years, and, on 2 April, the election dates were set by President of the Republic Vaclav Havel. They were not normally due until June 2000.

The campaign lasted from 3 to 17 June and was dominated by personalities as much as any in-depth discussion of issues such as the country’s economic problems and stalled reforms in this sector, the drop in the value of the national currency, corruption scandals or financial crimes. On foreign affairs, all mainstream parties were committed to the Czech Republic’s membership in the European Union. Once again, the main challenger to the outgoing coalition comprising the ODS, the centrist Christian Democratic Union (KDU) - Czech People’s Party (CSL) and (until November 1997) the right-wing Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) was the Social Democratic Party (CSSD) led by Mr. Milos Zeman. Altogether 13 parties contested the 200 seats at stake; these included the Freedom Union (US), formed by ODS dissidents in January 1998 and headed by Mr. Jan Ruml.

On polling day, while the center-left CSSD again won the most seats (74), the right-wing parties together captured an absolute majority of 102 seats; only five parties attained the 5% threshold needed to enter Parliament.

On 17 July, President Havel named Mr. Zeman Prime Minister. His new minority CSSD Government was formed on 22 July. It has the support of the ODS under an "opposition agreement"; according to this pact, neither of the two main parties would initiate a vote of no confidence in a government run by the other.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (19 June 1998): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 8,116,836
Voters 74%

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group %
Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) 32.31
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) 27.74
Communist Party (KSCM) 11.03
Christian Democratic Union (KDU)-Czech People's Party (CSL) 9.00
Freedom Union (US) 8.60
Republican Party (SPR-RSC) 3.90

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) 74 +13
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) 63 -5
Communist Party (KSCM) 24 +2
Christian Democratic Union (KDU)-Czech People's Party (CSL) 20 +2
Freedom Union (US) 19 +19
Republican Party (SPR-RSC) 0 -18

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 170
Women: 30
Percent of women: 15.00

Distribution of seats according to age:  
Under 31 years 12
31-40 years 43
41-50 years 85
51-60 years 51
61-70 years 9


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Copyright 1998 Inter-Parliamentary Union