Fiala’s Government Sees Lowest Popularity Rating Since 2013
Fiala’s five-party coalition was appointed in December 2021. Photo credit: Vlada.cz.
Prague, April 19 (CTK) – The government of Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) has the lowest popularity rating since the cabinet of Petr Necas (ODS) in 2013, according to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Research Center (CVVM) between late January and 20 March.
Czech citizens mostly criticise the cabinet’s program, performance and individual members, as well as the prime minister himself and the way he communicates with the public.
In all of these aspects, Fiala’s cabinet has lower popularity ratings than at any time during the two cabinets of Andrej Babis (ANO; 2017-2021), the cabinet of Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD; 2014-2017) and the caretaker cabinet of Jiri Rusnok (2013-2014), despite the fact that Babis’s first government and the Rusnok cabinet were ruling without the confidence of the Chamber of Deputies.
The only lower rating than Fiala’s was for Necas’s cabinet in a February 2013 poll. Necas’s government underwent extensive personnel changes during its three years in power and ended by resigning in summer 2013 after a police raid in the government offices.
Negative assessments of Fiala’s government outweigh the positive ones. For example, only 24% of respondents were satisfied with the members of the government, while 71% are dissatisfied overall. The prime minister is rated negatively by 64% of people and positively by 32%. While 69% of Czechs are dissatisfied with the government’s actions, only 27% are satisfied. The cabinet’s communication with the public is assessed negatively by 66% of respondents and positively by 30%. The smallest margin between positive and negative evaluations is for the government’s program, with which 30% of Czechs are satisfied, compared to 59% that are not.
Compared to the previous survey in August and September 2021, which evaluated Babis’s government, the share of dissatisfied people in each case has increased by up to 15 percentage points. The evaluation of the prime minister has changed the least; in the previous survey, 62% of people were dissatisfied with Babis as PM, while in the current survey, 64% of respondents evaluate Fiala negatively.
The poll found that older people are less satisfied with Fiala’s cabinet in all aspects, while people from higher-income households and with better living standards are more satisfied. Right-wing voters are generally more satisfied with the current government. Strong dissatisfaction with the cabinet was expressed mainly by supporters of the opposition parties ANO and Freedom and Democracy (SPD), as well as non-voters.
The current cabinet has been facing rising prices and other impacts of the Russian attack on Ukraine, which started last February. Over the past few months, protests against the government have been held repeatedly in the Czech Republic. On Sunday, thousands of people demonstrated at Wenceslas Square in Prague, with speakers calling for strikes and the resignation of the government.
In March, some of the participants in one demonstration tried to enter the National Museum building and tear down a Ukrainian flag.
Last September, around 70,000 people gathered at a protest rally calling for the government’s resignation. The organisers criticised the government over soaring energy prices and the pro-Western stance of the current cabinet.
The survey was conducted by CVVM from 31 January to 20 March on a sample of 861 Czech residents over the age of 15.
Appointed in December 2021, the Fiala cabinet comprises the three-party Spolu alliance of ODS, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and TOP 09, as well as the Mayors and Independents (STAN) and the Pirate Party.