A poll taken ahead of massive demonstrations over the weekend calling for the center-right government to step down shows Czechs’ dissatisfaction with the current political situation at 79 percent — the highest level over the past two years.
According to the CVVM agency, only 14 percent of people polled in April said they were “neither satisfied, nor dissatisfied,” compared with 19 percent the previous month, when the level of “dissatisfaction” with the political situation stood at 73 percent.
“Those expressing satisfaction with the political situation are slightly more often young people up to 29 years of age and those supporting [the Civic Democrats] ODS and TOP 09,” CVVM said, referring to the larger two parties in the government coalition that until last week also included the smallest member, Public Affairs (VV).
Prime Minister Petr Nečas, the ODS chairman, is trying to form a new coalition with defectors from the VV, alligned with Deputy PM Karolína Peake, with an announcement to that effect expected on Monday evening.
Austerity measures, instability
Unsurprisingly, those dissatisfied with the political situation were typically supporters of the largely unreformed Communists (KSČM) and the main opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD). “The greatest degree of frustration was among citizens who believe their standards of living are poor, the economically inactive [unemployed or retired] and those older than 60,” said the agency, which is affiliated with the Czech Academy of Sciences.
A separate recent poll put the ČSSD as the way out winners should elections be held today, with the communists in a surprise second place.
The center-right government has made unpopular austerity measures its flagship policy amid sluggish economic growth with a stated target of a balanced budget by 2016. The ODS-TOP 09-VV coalition had also teetered on collapse several times during its less than two-year existence, further undermining “satisfaction” with the political situation.
Those most inclined to support the government are between 33 and 44 years old, declare themselves to be economically secure and have a university education, the CVVM agency said.
The April poll also found that mayors and local authorities enjoyed the greatest confidence while members of the lower house of Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies) and the government enjoyed the least, with 12 percent and 16 percent percent support, respectively. Public confidence in the president dropped to less than 50 percent for the first time, and down from 68 percent a year ago.
One of the biggest anti-government demonstrations of its kind in the Czech Republic on Saturday led to around 100,000 people to gather in Prague to protest government austerity measures. Union leaders who organized the protest threatened general strikes if the government does not fall.