Babiš was not defeated by Prague, but by smaller cities, according to a political scientist. It also decided to participate in poorer districts iROZHLAS
“Prague beat us. Prague hates Babiš, “said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) on Saturday after adding up the election results. However, a comparison of turnout with previous elections shows that the metropolises did not decide at first. “Medium-sized cities all over the country have lost it,” says politician Jakub Lysek from Palacký University in Olomouc.
5.4 million people went to the polls on Friday and Saturday, 320,000 more than four years ago. In Prague, turnout was slightly higher than in the rest of the country, but in all elections, starting in 2002. So where did turnout go and what effect did it have on the outcome?
According to Lyska, the key story of these elections took place in two places. “On the inner peripheries of regions where voter turnout has occurred, and on the other hand in medium-sized cities, where people live well and turnout has increased,” he describes and cites Litomyšl, Uničov or Litovel as specific examples.
You can read how the turnout in your municipality has changed compared to the last parliamentary elections, you can read from the interactive maps of the data journalists server iROZHLAS.cz.
“In each region we find a city of 10 to 30 thousand inhabitants, where voters probably came to support the coalition TOGETHER or STAN and circle local leaders,” he continues.
According to Lysk, local candidates are important for the center-right electorate, which may explain the 5% turnout compared to 2017. “Voters knew their candidates and had no problem supporting the TOTAL coalition, even if the ODS did not vote,” Lysek has so far.
According to him, undecided voters could also be convinced by economic issues, which the coalition candidate raised before the election. “People have started to realize that we are struggling with inflation, services are becoming more expensive and the government of Andrej Babiš is helping to record a record budget deficit. The TOTAL coalition took the issue well and started talking about it. “
On the other hand, YES tried to address voters in the Sudetenland and on the periphery with topics such as migration.
With the use of turnout in various smaller cities across the country, the mobilization of middle-class voters can be. “Typically, these are small tradesmen, civil servants or teachers. They circled local candidates they know from their community, “describes the political scientist.
Surprise in the Sudetenland
Traditionally, lower turnout compared to the rest of the republic tends to be on the border. So the big question for the Sudetenland this year was whether they would mobilize. “It seems that partly yes, but not to such an extent as to support the existing government parties. I think that it was in the Sudetenland that Andrej Babiš left middle-class voters. He probably did not address the anti-migration policy of this monitoring of the population, “says Lysek, adding that ANO will also drag on part of the CSSD and KSCM voters.
The election map distorts the Ústí nad Labem region, which is on the border, but this year it includes correspondence votes from abroad. Two leaders in the region, Andrej Babiš and Ivan Bartoš, ran for this. Therefore, in some cities in the region, turnout was slightly higher.
The only area where turnout decreased was the so-called inner peripheries of the regions. “These are usually areas with a high proportion of seniors, the unemployed or people with execution,” describes Lysek. It is these factors that affect how many people come to the polls in a particular place.
The political scientist sees this year’s higher turnout as a parallel with the parliamentary elections in 2006. “At that time, two blocs of parties ran against each other. This year, we had two joint candidates of parties that oppose Andrej Babiš’s policy, and the parties of the governing coalition, “he compares.
This polarization of the political scene may have made it easier for some voters to make decisions. “Thus, people who do not necessarily belong to the upper middle class and have lower wages could also vote for the TOTAL coalition. The CSSD probably lacks what they need, but they did not know what to expect from the new subjects. So a lot of people from the middle or lower classes looked at the candidates and chose a coalition in which they saw familiar faces, “concludes the political scientist.
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