Pre-electoral surveys in the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia

Will socialists be on the brink of a new electoral defeat?

, by Translated by Giulia Biagi, Tobias Gerhard Schminke

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English]

Pre-electoral surveys in the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia
The pro-European Borut Pahor (Socialist) has been President of Slovenia since 2012 and unlike his party colleagues in Czech Republic and Austria, he has good chances of being re-elected this autumn. © Richter Frank-Jurgen / flickr/ (CC BY 2.0)

After the German parliamentary elections, elections continue in Central European countries, with Slovenia electing a new President, and the Czech Republic and Austria electing a new parliament and a new government. How’s the political climate in these countries and in Europe?

The German elections saw an increase in the approval ratings of liberal-conservative parties, which are grouped under the EPP group in the European Parliament. This happened because of the surprisingly low results of Angela Merkel’s party (CDU). EPP parties in general marked their historical low of 21 per cent, which is 1.5 percentage points less than in September and more than eight points less than in the European elections in 2014. CDU/CSU and ÖVP are a part of EPP.

Concerning SPD and SPÖ members the situation is not better. On average, the parties of the S&D group currently have a voter approval of 23 per cent and had already reached this percentage in the previous month. In 2014 the Socialists had a voter approval of 25.4 per cent. According to surveys, the Socialists are likely to get disastrous results in the Czech Republic and Austria after the historically low results in the German parliamentary elections.

If there were European elections today, the Commission President would still belong to the EPP group, due to the slightly disproportionate allocation of seats in the European Parliament. Today S&D would have won six seats less than in 2014 (184).

In an election this month, the liberal ALDE group would reach 12.5 per cent (-0.5 points). The conservative ECR - 9.5%, the left-wing GUE/NGL - 8%, the Eurosceptic EFDD group - 4.5% and the colourful NI (3.5%) would remain stable. The right-wing ENF, which includes AfD as well as FPÖ, could be the winner this month, reaching a vote share of 7 percent in Europe.

Austrian elections: a Eurosceptic government with Kern and Strache?

In Austria the liberal-conservatives of ÖVP have surpassed the Socialists (SPÖ) with 33 per cent (2013: 24.0%); the Socialists only reach 22 percent (2013: 26.8%). SPÖ fell behind due to resignations in the campaign team of Chancellor Christian Kern. According to the current Spectra survey of September 30, the right-wing populist FPÖ is the second-biggest party, having increased its vote share from 20.5 in 2013 to 27 percent today.

Chancellor Kern (Socialists) places emphasis on social justice during the election campaign.

Liberal NEOS have to fear for their entry into the Parliament, reaching only four per cent of the votes now (2013: 5.0%). The Greens are expected to face serious losses. The party took a solid 12.4 per cent of the votes in 2013 and now it has reached only six percent. This should be above all due to the separation of the Pilz list, which could take five percent of the vote coming out of a standstill position. Because of the five percent threshold in Austria, this separation could affect the entry of both groups into the Austrian national parliament. The right-wing Stronach team reached 5.7 per cent in 2013. The party will no longer appear in the upcoming elections.

The Austrian party system has been characterised by grand coalitions for centuries. The frustration among politicians and voters is big. In the case of a not unlikely election victory, the ÖVP lead candidate Kurz could coalesce with FPÖ on separate issues.

Czech elections: any pirates in parliament?

In the Czech Republic as well the Liberals are taking advantage of their Europe-wide uptrend. According to the current survey by the Median, the Socialists (ČSSD) are considered to be the strongest party after ANO which has a 27-percent approval (2013: 18.9%). In the heavily fragmented Czech party system they are currently ranked second with 13.5 percent support (2013: 20.5%).

The left-wing KSČM party is ranked third with 12.5 per cent (2013: 14.9%). The ultra-conservative ODS cooperating with the Polish PiS and the German Lucke party in the ECR fraction in the European Parliament is behind them with only 9.5 per cent (2013: 7.7%). The conservative-liberal spectre appears to be fragmented in the Czech Republic. Karel Schwarzenberg’s TOP09 party (2013 with STAN: 12%) would currently win seven percent of the vote. The liberal-conservative KDU-ČSL would fall slightly behind with six percent of the votes (2013: 6.8%). STAN would take four percent (2013 with TOP09). The right-wing populist SPD appears for the first time and would take 6.5 percent of the votes if elections took place right now. SPD is the result of a separation of the right-wing Úsvit which claimed 6.9 percent of the votes in 2013 but does not matter anymore in these elections. The comparatively strong Pirate Party is also set to enter the national parliament with six percent of the vote (2013: 2.6%).

Ivan Bartoš (in the middle) is the lead candidate of the Czech Pirate Party, which should enter the national parliament in Prague this month.

Currently, in the Czech Republic the Green party also has a weaker approval rating . The Z-party has a vote share of 2.5 per cent (2013: 3.2%). The Eurosceptics belonging to SVOBODNÍ (EFDD-fraction) only have two per cent of poll ratings (2013: 2.5%). The self-proclaimed “Realists”, who joined the party in 2016, have a poll rating of one per cent.

In the Czech Republic the five per cent threshold is effective.

Slovenian elections: is the incumbent Pahor sitting securely in his saddle?

Slovenia is electing its President on October 23. The Socialist Borut Pahor, who has been the President since 2012, is now the most promising candidate. According to the current Delo survey he has 42 per cent of the votes. In the Presidential run-off, according to current data, the independent candidate, actor and artist Šarec would be the runner-up, currently with 27 percent of the votes. The liberal-conservative candidates Ljudmila Novak (NSi) and Romana Tomc (EPP) both have twelve percent of the votes. The other candidates have no chance.

Local elections in Luxembourg, Estonia and Kosovo

The German federal state of Lower Saxony is electing a new Landtag on October 15. Local and city councils are being elected in Estonia on October 15, in Kosovo on October 22 and in Luxembourg on October 8.

On October 22 in the Italian regions of Veneto and Lombardy, a referendum on more autonomy from Rome is taking place. Neither one of the two referenda is legally binding.

In the federal state of Tyrol, another referendum will be held on October 15 on its application for the Winter Olympic Games in 2026.

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