Czech Republic

Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia

Published 5th December, 2012

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia or KSČM was founded in 1989 in its present format but can trace its history back to 1921 and the formation of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC). It describes itself as Far-left and believes in Communism.

The KSC did remarkably well in the 1925 general election, taking nearly one million votes and 41 seats but it was never to take office and in 1938 it was banned. During World War Two many of the party leaders left for Moscow and after the war they returned.

In the 1946 elections the party was the largest with 93 of the 300 seats in the interim National Assembly. They formed a coalition government but gradually took control. When non-Communist members of the Cabinet resigned in 1948 the party seized their opportunity and took control of the whole government. They went on to rule until 1989.

By the early 1960s the economy of Czechoslovakia took a downturn and reformers led by Alexander Dubček took over. Dubček led a period of liberalisation known as the Prague Spring, but it was short lived and in 1968 the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia and reversed the process giving the party back to hardliners.

By 1989 the party was in trouble as was Communism across Eastern Europe and the government collapsed. That same year the party decided to rename itself the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM).

Despite the former party’s checkered history the new party did well in early elections. In 1992 it won 35 seats followed by 22 seats in 1996 and 24 seats in 1998. In 2002 the party had its best result of the new democratic era by winning 41 of the 200 seats in the Chamber of Deputies but since then it has dropped back to 26 seats in both the 2006 and 2010 general elections.

In the past decade the party has, like so many Communist groups, gone through ideological arguments and divisions, but it remains a powerful opposition force within the Czech parliament.

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has four of the 22 national seats in the European Parliament where it sits in the European United Left – Nordic Green Left group. It is an observer member of the Party of the European Left.

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