Oct, 27 - Czech Social Democrats win a slim victory in a parliamentary election but face a tough task forming a government after a wave of voter anger over sleaze and budget cuts propel new protest parties into parliament. Sarah Toms reports.
It was hoped that this election in the Czech Republic would resolve months of uncertainty, instead it failed to produce a clear winner. With all the ballots counted the centre left Social Democrats won the most votes. But Bohuslav Sobotka and his party were not in the mood to celebrate. (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) SOCIAL DEMOCRATS LEADER, BOHUSLAV SOBOTKA, SAYING: "Social Democracy will handle the voters' confidence very responsibly." With a slim majority of just more than 20 per cent they do not have enough to form a government alone. After years in opposition the party had hoped to run the country propped up by the Communists but even together they do not have enough votes. The real election winner was the slovak born billionaire businessman Andrej Babis. He and his anti-corruption movement launched just two years ago took second place. (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) ANO PARTY LEADER, ANDREJ BABIS, SAYING: "The number of people who voted for us is unbelievable. We never did hope for such a number. We thank you very much. I think you (the voters) appreciated our positive campaigning, in which we did not attack anyone. We feel very responsible for all the people who voted for our programme, and we promise we will not betray you. We will always stick to our programme's priorities." He's being coy about a possible coalition but he's in a powerful bargaining position. The election comes after months of political turmoil after the previous coalition was brought down by a corruption scandal in June. The country has been without a proper administration ever since and it looks like there will be weeks of protracted negotiations before another coalition government can be formed.