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Civic Democratic Party (Czech Republic)

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Title: Civic Democratic Party (Czech Republic)  
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Subject: Czech legislative election, 2013, Mirek Topolánek, Czech legislative election, 2010, List of members of the European Parliament for the Czech Republic, 2004–09, List of members of the European Parliament for the Czech Republic, 2009–14
Collection: 1991 Establishments in Czechoslovakia, Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists Member Parties, Civic Democratic Party (Czech Republic), Conservative Parties in the Czech Republic, European Conservatives and Reformists Member Parties, Eurosceptic Parties, Eurosceptic Parties in the Czech Republic, Euroscepticism in the Czech Republic, International Democrat Union Member Parties, Liberal-Conservative Parties, Political Parties Established in 1991, Political Parties in Czechoslovakia, Right-Wing Parties in the Czech Republic
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Civic Democratic Party (Czech Republic)

Civic Democratic Party
Občanská demokratická strana
Leader Petr Fiala
Founded 21 April 1991
Preceded by Civic Forum
Headquarters Truhlářská 9, Prague
Newspaper ODS Papers
Think tank CEVRO Institute[1]
Youth wing Young Conservatives
Membership  (June 2015) 14,771[2]
Ideology Conservatism[3]
Liberal conservatism[4]
Economic liberalism[3][4]
Soft euroscepticism[3]
Political position Centre-right[5]
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European affiliation Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists
European Parliament group European Conservatives and Reformists
Colours      Blue
Chamber of Deputies
16 / 200
15 / 81
European Parliament
2 / 21
Regional councils
102 / 675
Local councils
2,398 / 62,300
Politics of the Czech Republic
Political parties

The Civic Democratic Party (Czech: Občanská demokratická strana, ODS) is a conservative[6] and liberal-conservative[7][8] political party in the Czech Republic. It holds 16 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, making it the fifth-largest party. Civic Democratic Party has been in opposition since July 2013.

The ODS is liberal conservative,[9][10][11] supports economic liberalism,[12] and is notably Eurosceptic.[13] It is modelled on the British Conservative Party,[14][15] with whom the Civic Democrats ally through the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists and ECR group. Internationally, it is aligned with the International Democratic Union.

The party was founded by Václav Klaus in 1991 as the pro-free market wing of the Civic Forum. The party won the 1992 legislative election, and has remained in government for most of the Czech Republic's independence. From every elections of Chamber of Deputies until 2013 it emerged as one of the two strongest parties. Václav Klaus served as the first Prime Minister of the Czech republic after partition of Czechoslovakia, from 1993 to 1997. Mirek Topolánek, who succeeded him as a chairman of the party in December 2002, served as a Prime Minister from 2006 to 2009. In the 2010 election, the party lost 28 seats, finishing second, but as the largest party right of the centre, it formed a centre-right government with Petr Nečas as Prime Minister. In the 2013 election, the party was marginalized by only securing 16 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. It is currently led by Petr Fiala, who was elected chairman on a party convention in January 2014.


  • History 1
    • Formation 1.1
    • Dominant party 1.2
    • Opposition 1.3
    • Back in government 1.4
    • Fall from power 1.5
  • Ideology 2
  • Controversy 3
    • Amnesty of President Klaus 3.1
    • Pavel Bém and OpenCard Project 3.2
  • Election results 4
    • Chamber of Deputies 4.1
    • Senate 4.2
    • European Parliament 4.3
    • Municipal Assemblies 4.4
    • Regional Assemblies 4.5
  • Leaders 5
  • Footnotes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8



The party was founded in 1991 as one of two successors to the Civic Forum. The ODS represented followers of Václav Klaus, and was pro-free market, as opposed to the centrist Civic Movement. An agreement was reached to split the party into two at the Civic Forum Assembly on 23 February 1991. This was followed on 21 April by a formal declaration of a new party, and Klaus was elected its first President.[16] The party agreed to continue in coalition in the Czech government with the Civic Movement, but this collapsed in July 1991.

The Civic Democrats, who represented demands for a tighter Slovakia.[17] Ahead of the 1992 election, the ODS ruled out an electoral alliance with the Liberal Democrats, but agreed to an alliance with Václav Benda's Christian Democratic Party (KDS) in order to boost its appeal to conservatives.[17] The ODS won the election, winning 66 seats (and the KDS another ten), and formed a centre-right coalition with the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) and the KDU-ČSL, with Klaus as Prime Minister.[18]

Dominant party

It was the dominant party in two coalition governments in the Czech Republic in 1992–1997, a majority administration (1992–96) and a short-lived minority government (1996–97).

On 2 June 1995, the ODS and KDS signed a merger agreement, which would come into effect on 18 March 1996, ahead of that year's election. However, at the election, whilst the ODS improved to 68 seats, its allies fell, leading to the government receiving only 99 seats: two short of a majority. Klaus continued with a minority government, relying on its acceptance by the Social Democratic Party (ČSSD).

In December 1997, allegations of the party receiving illegal donations and maintaining a secret slush fund caused the ODA and KDU-ČSL to withdraw from the coalition, and the government collapsed. Josef Tošovský was appointed caretaker, pending new elections in June 1998. Despite the scandal, Klaus was re-elected party chairman, and in January 1998, some legislators opposed to Klaus, led by Jan Ruml and Ivan Pilip, left the party in the so-called 'Sarajevo Assassination' and formed the Freedom Union (US).[19]


At the elections, the ODS fell even further, to 63 seats, while the US won 19. Due to the split, the Freedom Union refused to support the ODS, preventing them from getting a majority, the US's executive also refused to support the ČSSD. As a result, on 9 July 1998, the ODS signed the Opposition Agreement, which pledged the party to provide confidence and maintain a ČSSD government under Miloš Zeman.[20] This agreement was then superseded by the more explicit 'Patent of Tolerance' in January 2000.[21]

In the 2002 parliamentary elections, it went from being the largest seat holder to being the second largest party in the Chamber of Deputies with 58 of 200 seats, and for the first time in its history, assumed the role of a true opposition party. Mirek Topolánek took over the party leadership. Former Czech president, Václav Klaus, has been party's honorary president for his first term in the office. In the European Parliament elections in June 2004 and in Senate and regional assembly elections in November 2004 it received over 30% of the votes.

Back in government

Leader of the Civic Democrats from 2002 until 2010, Mirek Topolánek led the party to an election victory in 2006 and became the party's first Prime Minister since 1997.

In the 2006 elections it was the largest seat holder in the Chamber of Deputies with 81 seats. It formed a government in coalition with the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and the Green Party (SZ). The party suffered heavy losses in regional and Senate elections in 2008, losing all 12 regional governorships it had previously held.

The Cabinet had lost a no-confidence vote on 24 March 2009. Country was then governed by newly formed caretaker Cabinet. It was nominated by ODS, ČSSD and SZ. Early elections were set for 9–10 October 2009 but was due to unexpected development in the Constitutional Court and House of Deputies postponed to May 2010.

Civic Democratic Party won the second place after Czech Social Democratic Party and formed centre-right Government with TOP 09 and Public Affairs. Public Affairs split from government on 22 April 2012 but were replaced by LIDEM. Civic Democratic Party was the same year widely defeated in regional election as finished third overall and won only in the Plzeň region. Party also lost 2010 and 2012 Senate elections.

Fall from power

In June 2013, the Police Unit for Combating Organized Crime and the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Olomouc organized a raid against organized crime. It led to resignation of the Government and early elections on 25–26 October 2013. ODS suffered heavy losses. It gained only 16 seats and finished 5th. The Party then elected new Chairman Petr Fiala. The Party suffered losses in european election, senate and municipal elections in 2014.


The main ideological components of the party are: modern European Conservatism, economic liberalism, and Euroscepticism. The party's ideas are very close to those of the British Conservative Party, Swedish Moderate Party, and other European liberal-conservative parties. Due to its strong devotion to free market, small government policies and euroskepticism it is ideologically distinct from conservative parties in neighboring Austria and Germany.

The basic principles of the party's program are "low taxes, public finances and future without debts, support for families with children, addressable social system, reducing bureaucracy, better conditions for business, a safe state with the transatlantic links. No tricks and populism."

In July 2006, the Civic Democratic Party signed an agreement with the British Conservative Party to leave the EPP-ED Group and form a new European political party called MER (Movement for European Reform) in 2009. On 22 June 2009, it was announced that ODS would join the newly formed European Conservatives and Reformists, an anti-federalist bloc working for reform rather than abolition of the European Parliament and currently its third largest bloc.


Many political scandals in Czech Republic were related to the Civic Democratic Party.

Amnesty of President Klaus

The Czech president Václav Klaus decided to declare amnesty on January 1, 2013. The act attracted huge public attention, because of its controversial part. President Klaus decided to stop prosecution of criminal acts which took part 8 years ago and more and the court still didn't decide about guilt.

The most problematic part is, that the amnesty stops prosecution for criminal acts punishable up to 10 years in prison. This includes also criminal activities on huge properties, which have been closely related to political parties in Czech Republic in 1990s.

The leader of Civic Democratic Party signed the amnesty bill and is responsible for the act because of being prime minister of Czech Republic at the time.

Pavel Bém and OpenCard Project

The Civic Democratic Party politician Pavel Bém is well known for his controversial affairs. He has been the Mayor of Prague during 2002–2010. The city used to spend a lot of money on controversial projects at the time.

OpenCard was a project to unify public transportation card, municipal library card and others into one system. The problem is that the project cost approximately 4 times more than in other countries—1 billion CZK (equal to $50 million USD).[22] The city was never able to explain why the project was so expensive.

Election results

Below are charts of the results that the Civic Democratic Party has secured in the Chamber of Deputies, Senate, European Parliament, and regional assemblies at each election.

Chamber of Deputies

Year Vote Vote % Seats Place Govt? Notes
1990 ... ... 41 2nd Yes Split from Civic Forum in 1991.
1992 1,924,483 29.7 66 1st Yes Participated in Coalition with KDS.
1996 1,794,560 29.6 68 1st Yes Minority government supported by oppositional ČSSD.
1998 1,656,011 27.7 63 2nd Gov. Support Supported a Minority Government of ČSSD.
2002 1,166,975 24.5 58 2nd No
2006 1,892,475 35.3 81 1st Yes 2006 minority government, 2007-2009 coalition with KDU-ČSL and Greens.
2010 1,057,792 20.2 53 2nd Yes Coalition government with TOP 09 and VV/LIDEM
2013 384,174 7.7 16 5th No


Election First round Second round Seats
Votes % Places* Votes % Places*
1996** 1,006,036 36.5 1st 1,134,044 49.2 1st 32
1998 266,377 27.7 1st 210,156 39.1 1st 9
2000 203,039 23.6 1st 166,133 29.5 1st 8
2002 165,794 24.9 1st 284,537 34.6 1st 9
2004 241,120 33.3 1st 257,861 53.8 1st 19
2006 354,273 33.3 1st 289,568 50.4 1st 14
2008 252,827 24.1 2nd 266,731 32.4 2nd 3
2010 266,311 23.1 2nd 225,708 33.1 2nd 8
2012 151,950 17.28 3rd 117,990 22.95 2nd 4
2014*** 118,268 11.52 3rd 53,149 11.21 4th 2

* Places are by number of votes gained.
** The whole Senate was elected. Only one third of Senate was elected in all subsequent elections.
***One of its candidates was elected in coalition with Koruna Česká (party).

European Parliament

Year Vote Vote % Seats Place
2004 700,942 30.0 9 1st
2009 741,946 31.5 9 1st
2014 116,389 7.7 2 6th

Municipal Assemblies

Year Vote % Seats
1994 29.56 7,289
1998 24.16 5,697
2002 25.21 5,715
2006 36.2 7,1011
2010 18.78 5,112
2014 9.01 2,398

Regional Assemblies

Year Vote % Seats Places Hejtmans
2000 23.8 185 7x 1st, 3x 2nd, 3x 3rd 8
2004 36.4 291 12x 1st, 1x 2nd 12
2008 23.6 180 12x 2nd, 1x 3rd 0
2012 12.3 102 1x 1st, 3x 3rd, 7x 4th, 2x 5th 0


Petr Nečas was the leader of the Civic Democratic Party from 2010 to 2013.


  1. ^ Němeček, Tomáš. "Mít diplom od Langera". Hospodářské Noviny. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c "Parties and Elections in Europe, "Czech Republic", The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck". Parties & Elections. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Nagle, John D.; Mahr, Alison (1999), Democracy and Democratization: Post-Communist Europe in Comparative Perspective, SAGE, p. 188 
  5. ^ Hanley, Seán (2006), "Blue Velvet: The Rise and Decline of the New Czech Right", Centre-Right Parties in Post-Communist East-Central Europe (Routledge): 29 
  6. ^ José Magone (2010). Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction. Routledge. pp. 456–.  
  7. ^ Elisabeth Bakke (2010). Central and East European party systems since 1989. Central and Southeast European Politics since 1989 (Cambridge University Press). pp. 78, 80.  
  8. ^ C. A. J. M. Kortmann; J. W. A. Fleuren; Wim Voermans (2006). Constitutional Law of 10 EU Member States: The 2004 Enlargement. Kluwer. p. 252.  
  9. ^ "The Tories' new EU allies".  
  10. ^ Richter, Jan (13 April 2010). "Number 3 for Jesus: Czech parties get numbers to run with in May's elections".  
  11. ^ Traynor, Ian (19 May 2009). "European election: Brussels braces for big protest vote".  
  12. ^ Paul G. Lewis (2000). Political Parties in Post-Communist Eastern Europe. Routledge. pp. 164–.  
  13. ^ Hanley, Sean (2002). "Party Institutionalisation and Centre-Right Euroscepticism in East Central Europe: the Case of the Civic Democratic Party in the Czech Republic" (PDF). 29th ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops. 
  14. ^ "He's against the Lisbon Treaty and not keen on the euro... meet the new president of the EU".  
  15. ^ Hanley (2008), p. xi
  16. ^ Hanley (2008), p. 89
  17. ^ a b Hanley (2008), p. 96
  18. ^ Central and South-Eastern Europe 2004 (4 ed.). London: Routledge. 2004. p. 216.  
  19. ^ Rutland, Peter (1998). The challenge of integration. M. E. Sharpe. p. 84.  
  20. ^ Hanley (1998), p. 140
  21. ^ Hanley (1998), p. 143
  22. ^ Brian Kenety (4 April 2012). "Prague may scrap Opencard project".  


  • Hanley, Sean (2008). The New Right in the New Europe: Czech Transformation and Right-Wing Politics, 1989–2006. London: Routledge.  

External links

  • ODS official website
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