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Czech elections show steady rise of right-wing parties and populists as economy sours

Remix | Sept.26, 2022

In this year’s municipal elections in the Czech Republic held over the weekend, Czechs backed populist and right-wing parties as the center-right government saw voters turn away due to a souring economy and growing cost-of-living crisis.

The populist ANO party, which is led by former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, came in first in eight of 13 regional capitals, but it fell short of gaining control of the two largest cities, Prague and Brno. Babiš, considered a close ally of Hungarian Prime Minister VIktor Orbán, narrowly lost Czech national elections in 2021, but the latest results indicate that his party is clawing back voters.

In addition, the right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party led by Tomio Okamura made substantial gains in larger cities in the country, with the party’s aggressive stance against Russian sanctions, which many Czechs blame for soaring energy inflation, resonating with voters. Okamura’s party tripled its number of municipal representatives from 161 to 492, and secured its first-ever representatives in Prague. In a sign that the party is growing in popularity, recent polling also shows the SPD is currently the second most popular party in Czechia.

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