PRAGUE - The Czech Republic’s ruling Civic Democratic Party suffered a drubbing in regional and upper house elections as voters punished the government for spending cuts and sleaze scandals, results showed on Saturday. The Civic Democrats of center-right Prime Minister Petr Necas won 12.3 percent of the national vote, just over half of their 2008 result, trailing the center-left Social Democrats with 23.6 percent and the far-left Communists with 20.4 percent, results from 99 percent of voting stations showed. Necas has already seen his coalition’s parliamentary majority shrink and faces a rebellion among backbenchers that may bring down his cabinet in weeks.
The prime minister has to defend his post as party chief at a congress in November. The center-left Social Democrats, the main opposition party, also lost popularity from four years ago, when they won 35.8 percent. The biggest gainers were the Communists, descendants of the former Czechoslovak totalitarian rulers, and several small local parties which won many more seats in the 13 regional assemblies than four years ago. Necas blamed the losses on austerity and voters’ tendency to back the opposition in regional ballots.
“It is the consequence of unpopular but necessary reforms,” he told a news conference.