Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party
Published 5th December, 2012
The Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party was originally founded in 1919 although it can trace its history back to 1894 when the Christian Social Party was founded and 1896 when the Catholic National Party in Moravia was founded. The Czechoslovak People’s Party (ČSL) was then established in 1919. In 1992 the ČSL merged with the Christian Democratic Union to create the current party.
The party describes itself as a Centrist party which believes in Christian Democracy, Social Conservatism and Regionalism.
In 1921 the ČSL became part of the government and remained within government until 1948. It served in every government including the one in exile during the Second World War. After the Communist Party came to power in 1948 the ČSL had a token presence in the Communist’s National Front but no real powers.
Soiled by the Communist years the party tried to shed its old image and changed its name in 1992 whilst merging with the Christian Democratic Union.
The party won 15 seats in 1992 in the 200 seat parliament and joined the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) government led by Václav Klaus. In 1996 they took 18 seats and in 1998 that went up to 20 seats. Their highest point in the post-Communist era has been 31 seats which they attained in 2002 in partnership with the Freedom Union–Democratic Union (US–DEU). The two parties became members of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) led government despite bitter disagreements within the party about the coalition.
In 2006 the party went it alone once more and won 13 seats. They joined the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) led coalition government along with the Green Party (SZ). In 2009 following further internal struggles the party saw a splinter group set up as TOP 09 and in 2010 their vote dropped below the threshold for representation in parliament. This means that they have no seats at present in the Chamber of Deputies, the first time in 91 years. However they do still retain five seats in the upper house, the Senate.
The Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party is a member of the Centrist Democrat International and in the European Parliament where it holds one of the 22 national seats it is a member of the European People’s Party.