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Czech Result May Harm Conservative EPP Exit 4 June 2006

Posted by David in Conservatives, Europe.

It isn't often that the results of a general election in a Czech Republic Flagsmall, Eastern European nation raise questions over the plans of the Conservative Party. Today is one of those days.

Since becoming leader – and during the leadership contest exactly six months ago – David Cameron matched Liam Fox's policy of removing Conservative MEPs from the federalist EPP-ED grouping in Brussels. The new, Eurosceptic, free trade and Atlanticist grouping was to be formed of the Conservatives, Czech Civic Democrats Party (CDP/ODS), possibly the Polish Law & Justice Party, and a few smaller parties.

The Czech's CDP/ODS, lead by Margaret Thatcher's "favourite other European leader" Václav Klaus – who is very much anti-integration, refused to support EU membership and flying the EU flag – had been many points ahead in the polls and wanted to delay the new groups formation until after the result. Now however, the result is not clear.

The CDP/ODS won 81 seats, however combined the Socialists and their Communist allies won 100 seats – exactly half of the Parliament. Václav Klaus, leading the largest party, is given first chance to form a government but is likely to be instable, a minority government, impossible to do so, or a grand coalition as seen in Germany.

It is not yet clear how this will affect the proposed EPP-ED exit, or the new parliamentary group, but it looks as if the Conservatives' best continental ally is not going to be as strong as initially hoped.



1. Chris Palmer - 4 June 2006

Does an unstable national Government in the Czech Republic really matter all that much to creating a European grouping with the Conservative party? I would have thought not.

2. davidbkent - 4 June 2006

The main problem will be that the new grouping will lack the political weight and prestige if it does not comprise governing parties. It will be hard to press for a change in Europe if the grouping comprises only opposition parties or weak governments. My main argument is that the Conservatives’ main ally will not be as strong as hoped, and may be less keen to change grouping without the political capital they hoped.

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