1997 Civic Democratic Party leadership election

Last updated
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg
  1996 14 December 1997 1999  
Turnout95.8%
  Vaclav Klaus headshot.jpg Charta-setkani-signataru-ke-40.-vyroci-Lucerna2017-047.jpg
Candidate Václav Klaus Jan Ruml
Electoral vote22772
Percentage75.9%24.1%

Leader of ODS before election

Václav Klaus

Elected Leader of ODS

Václav Klaus

A leadership election for the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) was held in the Czech Republic on 14 December 1997. It followed a political crisis caused by allegations that the party had received illegal donations and was maintaining a secret slush which resulted in fall of the government. Incumbent party leader and Prime Minister Václav Klaus faced Jan Ruml, Klaus won the election and remained as the leader of the ODS, which led to a split in party when a group of ODS members left the party and founded the Freedom Union (US). [1] [2] In some subsequent opinion polls, the Freedom Union polled over 10% of the vote and was expected by some commentators to become the major centre-right party. However, the 1998 elections saw the party receive only 8.6% of vote, while the ODS remained the main right-wing party. [3]

Contents

The elections were the first contested vote for ODS leader. A total of 312 delegates were allowed to vote, with future elections planned to be held every two years. [4]

Background

In 1996 and 1997, ODS faced scandals involving its finances. It led so-called Sarajevo assassination on 28 November 1997. Jan Ruml and Ivan Pilip called for resignation of incumbent leader and Prime minister of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus. It resulted in fall of government and political crisis. [5] [6]

Klaus resigned as a prime minister but remained leader of ODS. He announced on 3 December 1997 that he would run for reelection as the party's leader. He wrote an open letter for the party's members where he asked them for support and called party to become a constructive opposition. [7] On the other hand Jan Ruml believed that ODS should remain in government. [8] Ruml and his supporters created an ideological platform within ODS. Ruml himself announced that he will run against Klaus. [9] Klaus quickly gathered support for his reelection [10]

Results

CandidateVote%
Václav Klaus 22775.92
Jan Ruml 7224.08
Total299100

According to preliminary reports, Klaus had stronger support. Jan Ruml stated that he won't leave ODS if he doesn't win and can express his opinions. Received two thirds of votes and defeated Ruml by large margin. [11] [12]

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References

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  2. "Podvody v ODS vedly v 1997 k rozpadu strany a nástupu ČSSD". Zpravy.cz. 25 November 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  3. "Před 10 lety s velkými ambicemi vznikla Unie svobody". iHned.cz (in Czech). 17 January 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  4. "Volba předsedy ODS v historii: jednoznačná záležitost". Nova.cz. 19 June 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  5. televize, Česká. "Tzv. "sarajevský atentát" odstartoval zatím největší politickou krizi v ČR". ČT24 (in Czech). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  6. "Podvody v ODS vedly v 1997 k rozpadu strany a nástupu ČSSD". Zprávy E15.cz. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. "Sarajevo - Ruml a Pilip chtějí Klausovu demisi, Macek mluví o stranickém puči". www.ceskenoviny.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  8. a.s., Economia (5 December 1997). "Klaus požaduje odchod do opozice". Hospodářské noviny (in Czech). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  9. a.s., Economia (10 December 1997). "J. Ruml nechce rozkol v ODS". Hospodářské noviny (in Czech). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  10. Česká televize. "Po velkých politických turbulencích padla v České republice menšinová vláda Václava Klause". www.ceskatelevize.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  11. televize, Česká. "Archiv ČT24: Kongresy ODS". www.ceskatelevize.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  12. a.s., Economia (15 December 1997). "V. Klaus opět v čele strany a záleží na něm, zda ODS bude v nové vládě". Hospodářské noviny (in Czech). Retrieved 11 August 2017.