Czech Senate to start second round of elections

The second round of the Czech Republic’s Senate elections will be held today. The first round of elections took place

Photo: AP Photo/Petr David Josek

The second round of the Czech Republic’s Senate elections will be held today. The first round of elections took place last week.

A third of seats in the Senate—the Czech Parliament’s upper house—are up for grabs. Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ populist ANO party leads the count with nine candidates advancing to the 27-seat contest, followed by the liberal Czech Pirate Party and Eurosceptic Civic Democratic Party. Despite a turbulent year for Babis, who has faced criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and persistent allegations of misuse of EU subsidies, the first round of elections indicated a clear win for ANO and Babis’ brand of anti-refugee nationalism.

ANO will likely hold onto its momentum going into this week’s voting. Still, it may see its overall power in government weaken after its junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, suffered a significant loss in last week’s regional elections, garnering less than 5% of the vote. Should ANO retain power, expect Prague and Brussels to continue squabbling over issues including EU refugee resettlement quotas, further stressing relations between the union’s eastern wing and Brussels, which is already concerned with democratic backsliding in Hungary and Poland.

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