KDU-ČSL

KDU–ČSL
Leader Marian Jurečka
Deputy Leaders Šárka Jelínková
Jan Bartošek
Petr Hladík
Tomáš Zdechovský
Ondřej Benešík
Secretary General Pavel Hořava
Chamber of Deputies Leader Jan Bartošek
Senate Leader Petr Šilar
MEP Leader Tomáš Zdechovský
Founder Jan Šrámek
Founded 3 January 1919
Merger of MSKSSM, KNKSM,
ČKSSKČ, KNKSČ, KSL
Headquarters Palác Charitas, Karlovo náměstí 5, Prague
Newspaper Nový Hlas
Think tank Institute for Christian Democratic Politics
Youth wing Young Populars
Women's wing Women's Association
Membership 21,870[1]
Ideology Christian democracy[2][3]
Social conservatism[4][5]
Pro-Europeanism[6][7]
Political position Centre[8][9] to centre-right[10][11]
National affiliation SPOLU
European affiliation European People's Party
International affiliation Centrist Democrat International
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colors   Yellow
Chamber of Deputies
23 / 200
Senate
12 / 81
European Parliament
2 / 21
Regional councils
53 / 675
Governors of the regions
1 / 13
Local councils
4,066 / 62,178
Party flag
Flag of KDU-ČSL
Website
www.kdu.cz

KDU-ČSL (In Czech, the initials of the Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party;[12] Czech: Křesťanská a demokratická unie – Československá strana lidová), often shortened to lidovci ('the populars') is a Christian-democratic[2][3] political party in the Czech Republic. The party has taken part in almost every Czech government since 1990. In the June 2006 legislative election, the party won 7.2% of the vote and 13 out of 200 seats; but in the 2010 election, its vote share dropped to 4.4% and they lost all of its seats. The party regained its parliamentary standing in the 2013 legislative election, winning 14 seats in the new parliament,[13] thereby becoming the first party ever to return to the Chamber of Deputies after previously dropping out.

History

Towards the end of the 19th century Roman Catholics in Bohemia and Moravia joined political movements inside Cisleithanian Austria-Hungary. The Christian-Social Party was set up in September 1894 in Litomyšl, and the Catholic National Party in Moravia was set up in September 1896 in Přerov.

Československá strana lidová (ČSL) was created in January 1919 in Prague, reuniting other Catholic parties, and Jan Šrámek was selected as its chairman. In 1921, ČSL entered the government of Czechoslovakia, and was subsequently part of governing coalitions regardless of political changes.

After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Šrámek served as head of Czechoslovak government in exile (in the United Kingdom). After 1945, ČSL was part of the national unity government, forming its most right-wing section.[14] When the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia took over all power in February 1948, many ČSL officials were imprisoned. The party lost any real influence and was kept as a de facto puppet of Moscow-aligned communists (see National Front). In turn, it was allowed to keep a token presence of ČSL in government until 1989.

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989 ČSL attempted to shed its compromised figures and policies of the past: this included a change of name in 1992 after the merger with the Christian and Democratic Union (which was a post-revolution attempt at more modern political Catholicism trying to emulate the German CDU, but lacking the strength of its traditional counterpart). KDU-ČSL was part of the governments of Václav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party (ODS) until its ministers left in autumn 1997 which triggered the government's fall; KDU-ČSL was also represented in the caretaker government of Josef Tošovský before the premature elections in 1998.

In June 2002 KDU–ČSL went into the elections on a joint ballot with the Freedom Union–Democratic Union (US–DEU) as the "Two-Coalition", which was the last remnant of an unsuccessful attempt to unite them with three smaller parties into the "Four-Coalition" which would provide an alternative to the practices of the "opposition agreement" of ODS and Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD). However it turned out that the KDU–ČSL's traditional voters identified much more strongly with their original party than the whole, unlike US–DEU's liberal city ones, and using preferential votes on evenly split ballots caused that KDU–ČSL gained 22 MPs to US–DEU's 9 even though both parties were of roughly equal strength. They entered the government again by forming a coalition with the winning Czech Social Democratic Party.

In 2003 Miroslav Kalousek was elected chairman; unlike his predecessor Cyril Svoboda he represents the right wing of KDU–ČSL favouring cooperation with ODS, which was a source of tension within the coalition. He refused to enter the government both after his election and the government's reconstruction after PM Vladimír Špidla's resignation, and finally on 19 February 2005 asked for the resignation of PM Stanislav Gross after his finance scandal broke out. Gross retaliated by threatening to remove KDU–ČSL from his cabinet; a government crisis ensued.

After the 2006 legislative elections and lengthy negotiations caused by stalemated result, the KDU–ČSL formed a government together with the ODS and the Green Party (SZ).

Cyril Svoboda became the party chairman on 30 May 2009. In reaction to his election, his predecessor Miroslav Kalousek led a split from the party to form TOP 09, as he considered Svoboda to be too far on the left wing of the party. In the 2010 Chamber of Deputies election, the party's vote dropped to 4.39%, and they lost every one of their seats to other parties. Svoboda resigned as a consequence of the results. In November Pavel Bělobrádek was elected on his stead. The Party returned to the Parliament after 2013 election, becoming the so far only party in the history of Czech republic to achieve a return after defeat in elections. On 12 April 2017, KDU-ČSL signed an agreement with STAN to participate in 2017 legislative election as a coalition. Coalition needed to get more 10% of votes get over threshold.[15] The coalition disintegrated before the election,[16] thus the party went into the elections standalone, receiving 5.8% of votes.

In March 2019 the party was officially renamed to KDU-ČSL, its common abbreviation and Marek Výborný became a new party leader.[17] After the death of his wife announced Marek Výborný in November 2019 his resignation for personal reasons.[18]

Tomáš Zdechovský, Jan Bartošek and Marian Jurečka decided then to run for party leader.

Current situation

KDU–ČSL has a relatively small but stable core voter base of about 6 to 10 percent of the population. It is strongest in the traditionally Catholic rural areas in Moravia. Historically, it was a mass party with about 50,000 members (second after the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia), however today most of them are of old age. Efforts to recruit new voters have been largely unsuccessful, with party membership continuing to decline. Nevertheless, KDU–ČSL has managed to take advantage of the fragmented Czech political party system and make itself a necessary part of any coalition, whether the winning party be left- or right-wing.

In the European Union, KDU–ČSL is a member of the European People's Party (EPP).

Internal Structure

Membership

KDU-ČSL had 27,662 Members in 2015 which is the second largest member base of any party in the Czech Republic. The number is decreasing 1990s when the party had 100,000 Members, It is caused by high average age of members.[19]

1991 1992 1999 2008 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2019
95,435 88,000 60,000 40,000[20] 33,000 29,976 28,541 27,662[21] 26,420[22] 21,870

Party strongholds

KDU-ČSL is known to have very strong electoral core concentrated primarily in South Moravia. The party has very stable electoral support thanks to it and has managed to gain seats in Chamber of Deputies everytime since 1990 with exception of 2010[23]

Partners

Notable partners and suborganisations of the KDU-ČSL are:

Pavel Bělobrádek, leader of the party from 2010 to 2019

Leaders

Symbols

Ex leader and mayor of Zlín region Jiří Čunek

The party's patron saint is Saint Wenceslaus, with Saint Wenceslas Chorale being played at party congresses. Members customarily address each other as brothers and sisters.

KDU-ČSL has had many symbols through history, with the current logo depicting a Christian cross on a linden leaf.[24]

Logos

Name of the party over time

Election results

Czechoslovakia wide elections

Date Leader Votes Seats Position
# % # ± Size
1920 Collective leadership 699,728 11.3
33 / 281
Increase 33 2nd Opposition
1925 Jan Šrámek 691,238 9.7
31 / 300
Decrease 2 3rd Coalition
1929 Jan Šrámek 623,340 8.4
25 / 300
Decrease 6 5th Coalition
1935 Jan Šrámek 615,804 7.5
22 / 300
Decrease 3 6th Coalition
1946 Jan Šrámek 1,111,009 15.7
46 / 300
Increase 24 3rd Coalition
1948 as part of National Front
23 / 300
Decrease 23 4th Bloc
1954
20 / 368
Decrease 3 3rd Bloc
1960
16 / 300
Decrease 4 4th Bloc
1964
20 / 300
Increase 4 4th Bloc
1971
8 / 200
Decrease 12 4th Bloc
1976
11 / 200
Increase 3 4th Bloc
1981
13 / 200
Increase 2 3rd Bloc
1986
11 / 200
Decrease 2 4th Bloc
1990 Josef Bartončík 629,359 5.9
9 / 150
Decrease 2 5th Coalition
1992 Josef Lux 388,122 4.0
7 / 150
Decrease 2 7th Coalition

Devolved assembly elections

Date Leader Votes Seats Position
# % # ± Size
1968 as part of National Front
16 / 200
Increase 16 3rd Bloc
1971
15 / 200
Decrease 1 2nd Bloc
1976
12 / 200
Decrease 3 3rd Bloc
1981
14 / 200
Increase 2 2nd Bloc
1986
14 / 200
Steady 0 2nd Bloc
1990 Josef Bartončík 607,134 8.42
20 / 200
Increase 6 4th Coalition
1992 Josef Lux 406,341 6.28
15 / 200
Decrease 5 5th Coalition
Date Leader Votes Seats Position
# % # ± Size
1928 Martin Mičura 43,689 3.31
2 / 54
Increase 2 8th
1935 Martin Mičura 3.0
1 / 54
Decrease 1 8th
Headquarters of KDU ČSL, Charitas Palace in Prague

Czech Republic wide elections

Date Leader Votes Seats Position
# % # ± Size
1996 Josef Lux 489,349 8.08
18 / 200
Increase 3 4thIncrease ODS–KDU-ČSL–ODA
1998 Josef Lux 537,013 8.99
20 / 200
Increase 2 4th Opposition
2002 Cyril Svoboda 680,670 14.27
22 / 200
Increase 11 4th ČSSD–KDU-ČSL–US-DEU
2006 Miroslav Kalousek 386,706 7.23
13 / 200
Decrease 18 4th ODS–KDU-ČSL–SZ
2010 Cyril Svoboda 229,717 4.39
0 / 200
Decrease 13 6thDecrease No seats
2013 Pavel Bělobrádek 336.970 6.78
14 / 200
Increase 14 7thDecrease ČSSD–ANO–KDU-ČSL
2017 Pavel Bělobrádek 293,643 5.80
10 / 200
Decrease 4 7th Opposition
2021 Marian Jurečka 1,493,701 27.79
23 / 200
Increase 13 2nd TBA
Part of SPOLU coalition, which won 71 seats in total
Election First round Second round Seats gained
Votes % Places* Votes % Places*
1996** 274,316 9.9 4th 247,819 10.7 3rd
13 / 81
1998*** 255,785 26.6 2nd 166,483 31.0 2nd
5 / 27
2000 121,355 14.1 4th 137,515 24.4 2nd
8 / 27
2002 58,858 8.8 4th 47,049 5.7 4th
1 / 27
2004 97,956 13.5 3rd 54,501 11.4 3rd
3 / 27
2006 125,388 11.8 4th 59,603 10.4 3rd
4 / 27
2008 82,870 7.9 - 42,225 5.13 -
0 / 27
2010 87,182 7.6 4th 42,990 6.32 4th
2 / 27
2012 61,006 6.94 4th 14,995 2.92 4th
1 / 27
2014 84,328 8.21 5th 77,103 16.27 2nd
4 / 27
2016 74,709 8.48 5th 78,448 18.50 2nd
6 / 27
2018 99,383 9.12 4th 34,833 8.33 5th
2 / 27
2020 82,814 8.30 4th 65,397 14.47 3rd
3 / 27

* Places are by number of votes gained.
** The whole Senate was elected. Only one third of Senate was elected in all subsequent elections.
***Participated as Part of Four-Coalition

Indirect Election Candidate First round result Second round result Third round result
Votes %Votes Result Votes %Votes Result Votes %Votes Result
1993 Václav Havel 109 63.37 Won
1998 Václav Havel 130 70.65 Runner-up 146 52.3 Won
2003 (Petr Pithart)

Jan Sokol

128 46.55 Runner-up 129 48.13 Runner-up 124 46.6 Lost
2008 Václav Klaus[25] 141 50.90 Runner-up 141 52.81 Runner-up 141 55.95 Won
Direct Election Candidate First round result Second round result
Votes %Votes Result Votes %Votes Result
2013 Zuzana Roithová 255,045 4.95 6th supported Karel Schwarzenberg
2018 Jiří Drahoš 1,369,601 26.60 Runner-up 2,701,206 48.63 Lost
Election Votes Share of votes in % Seats obtained Place
2004
223,383
9.57
2 / 24
4th
2009
180,451
7.64
2 / 22
4th Steady
2014
150,792
9.95
3 / 21
5th Decrease
2019
171,723
7.24
2 / 21
6th Decrease
Year Vote Vote % Seats
1990 8,845,562 11,5 8,083
1994 9,260,542 Increase 7.23 Decrease 7,616Decrease
1998 7,206,346Decrease 11.18Increase 7,119Decrease
2002 7,728,402Increase 9.58Decrease 6,013Decrease
2006 6,263,980Decrease 5.76Decrease 5,049Decrease
2010 4,938,960Decrease 5.47Decrease 3,738Decrease
2014 4,865,956Decrease 4.91Decrease 3,792Increase
2018 5,599,336Increase 5.02Increase 3,633Decrease
Year Vote Vote % Seats Places
2000 537,012 22.86
72 / 675
2nd
2004 226,016Decrease 10.67Decrease
84 / 675
4thDecrease
2008 193,911Decrease 6.65Decrease
56 / 675
4thSteady
2012 261,724Increase 9.87Increase
61 / 675
4thSteady
2016 159,610Decrease 6.30Decrease
61 / 675
5thDecrease
2020 252,598Increase 9.12Increase
53 / 675
5thDecrease
Region Coalition partner # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
Seats Governance[27]
# ± Position
Central Bohemian STAN 92,903 22.21
2 / 65
Increase 2 Increase 5th STAN–ODS–PiratesTOP 09+Greens-Voice
South Bohemian TOP 09 20,798 10.45
4 / 55
Steady Decrease 6th ODSKDU-ČSL+TOP 09ČSSD–JIH12
Plzeň ADS and Non-Partisians 7,588 4.36 N/A Decrease 2 Decrease 11th ODS+TOP 09STANPirates
Karlovy Vary ODS 5,870 7.35
2 / 45
Increase 1 Increase 8th STAN+TOP 09-Pirates-ODS+KDU ČSL-Local movements
Ústí nad Labem ODS 24,739 12.37
1 / 55
Increase 1 Increase 8th ANO–ODS–TOP 09+Greens
Liberec TOP 09 5,328 3.83 N/A Steady Increase 7th Mayors for Liberec RegionPirates–ODS
Hradec Králové VPM and Non-Partisians 14,738 8.32
4 / 45
Steady Decrease 5th ODS+STAN+VČ–KDU-ČSLPiratesTOP 09+HDK
Pardubice SNK-ED and Non-Partisians 22,280 13.41
4 / 45
Decrease 1 Decrease 5th ČSSD–ODS+TOP 09KDU-ČSLSTAN
Vysočina N/A 19,082 11.96
6 / 45
Decrease 1 Steady 3rd ODS+STO–PiratesKDU-ČSLČSSDSTAN
South Moravian N/A 56,423 15.54
11 / 65
Steady Steady 2nd KDU-ČSLPirates–ODS–STAN
Olomouc TOP 09 and Greens 34,519 18.43
6 / 55
Decrease 1 Steady 4th STAN+PiratesKDU-ČSL+TOP 09–ODS
Zlín N/A 35,782 18.62
9 / 45
Decrease 3 Decrease 2nd ANOPirates–ODS–ČSSD
Moravian-Silesian N/A 30,190 9.57
7 / 65
Decrease 1 Steady 4th ANO–ODS+TOP 09KDU-ČSLČSSD

Further reading

  • Brenner, Christiane (2004). Michael Gehler; Wolfram Kaiser (eds.). A Missed Opportunity to Oppose State Socialism?: The People's Party in Chechoslavakia. Christian Democracy in Europe since 1945. Routledge. pp. 151–168. ISBN 0-7146-5662-3.
  • Suppan, Arnold (2004). Catholic People's Parties in East Central Europe: The Bohemian Lands and Slovakia. Political Catholicism in Europe 1918-1945. 1. Routledge. pp. 178–192.

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