Czechs Punish Premier’s Party for Austerity Plan in Region Votes

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas’s Civic Democratic Party was routed in regional elections as voters voiced their anger at his plans to narrow the country’s budget deficit by raising taxes.

The Civic Democrats won one of 13 regions where elections were held over the last two days and took 12.3 percent of all ballots cast nationwide. The opposition Social Democrats received 23.6 percent of the votes, while the Communists came away with 20.4 percent.

The result weakens Necas’s center-right government as it prepares for a battle in parliament to push through its austerity agenda. Lawmakers will vote on the tax increases by the end of the year. Necas has staked his government’s survival on the outcome.

Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has repeatedly warned that a failure to pass the tax plan could undermine investors’ confidence. The Czech government on Oct. 1 sold 750 million euros ($971 million) of Eurobonds maturing in 2022 at 1.16 percent, the lowest rate ever achieved by the nation on foreign debt markets, according to Kalousek.

Left-wing candidates also fared better in the first round of the Senate election, a separate ballot in which voters chose 27 members of the 81-seat upper house of the Parliament.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladka Bauerova in Prague at lbauerova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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