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ANO To Spend The Most, Almost CZK 50 Million, On European Parliament Election Campaign

The opposition ANO, of former Prime Minister Andrej Babis, plans to spend the most among Czech parties on the campaign for the European Parliament (EP) elections in June, approaching the legal limit of CZK 50 million, its spokesman told CTK yesterday.

The far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and the Pirate Party are counting on CZK 10 million each, and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) will spend CZK 15 million on the election campaign, according to information supplied by the parties. The governing Spolu coalition, of the Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and TOP 09, is still negotiating the election funding, according to ODS spokesman Jakub Skyva.

“We expect that the amount will not differ significantly from previous European Parliament election campaigns, so we do not plan to reach the maximum limit,” Skyva said.

Christian Democrat MEP Tomas Zdechovsky told Lidove noviny on Wednesday that Spolu is considering an election budget of CZK 30 million, to be administered by ODS.

The coalition plans to engage citizens via billboards, and is also planning to be active on social media and in the traditional media outlets, Skyva said. “Online advertising will certainly be part of the campaign and, of course, we will put emphasis on a contact campaign,” he added.

“We perceive the European elections as very important and therefore we count on being close to the legal (financial) limit,” said ANO’s Martin Vodicka. The party intends to combine an “online and outdoor” campaign and, like Spolu, will emphasise the contact part of the campaign, he noted.

The Pirates also plan to spend roughly CZK 10 million on the EP election campaign, but this depends on the amount of donations, according to the party’s election manager Pavel Stepanek. The Pirates want to focus mainly on the contact campaign, as part of which they will visit all regions, he added. “We have been fighting against visual smog for a long time and we believe that talking to people simply makes sense,” Stepanek said, adding that the Pirates also plan to reach younger voters online.

STAN is counting on a budget of CZK 15 million for the European elections, and views the contact campaign as crucial, its spokeswoman Sara Berankova said.

The extra-parliamentary Social Democracy (SOCDEM), previously the Social Democratic Party (CSSD), has roughly CZK 8 million earmarked for the EP elections, but this sum may increase slightly, according to party spokesman Jan Novacek. Communication on social networks and a contact campaign will play a significant role in the party’s campaign, he said.

The extra-parliamentary Communists (KSCM), running as part of the Stacilo! (“Enough!”) coalition, are projecting a campaign fund of tens of millions of crowns for all election campaigns in 2024, the party’s spokesman Roman Roun said. The Communists plan to use billboards and social networks in the campaign, he said, which will also include discussions across the Czech Republic.

The European Parliament elections will take place in June. Voters across the EU will elect a total of 720 parliamentarians, 15 more than in the outgoing parliament. The increase in the number of seats is due to demographic changes in the EU. The Czech Republic will elect an unchanged 21 seats.

Some parties have already planned their budgets for the other elections to be held in the Czech Republic later this year.

STAN expects to spend CZK 20 million on the autumn regional elections, with additional funds to be added by regional branches from their own resources, and CZK 7 million for the elections of one-third of the Senate, to be held at the same time.

The Pirates estimate CZK 2.5 million from the party’s budget to be spent on the Senate elections, while Stepanek said the regional branches would be responsible for the regional elections, estimating their funds at a combined total of around CZK 15 million.

ANO To Spend The Most, Almost CZK 50 Million, On European Parliament Election Campaign
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