When journalists asked Jaroslav Basta during the vote count who he would support in the second round, he repeatedly said he would not support anyone. “Everyone supports the current government. Someone directly, someone indirectly,” defined SPD candidate and deputy of Andrej Babis (ANO).
With a serious face on Saturday afternoon, Basta said he was confident of advancing to the second round. Electoral staff for other SPD politicians also predicted a double-digit result.
That didn’t happen: Pasta won 4.45 percent and finished fifth out of eight candidates.
Either way, Pasta’s 248,000 votes in the second round will be useful to Babis. But the SPD is giving him a hard time – it announced on Saturday that it will decide in the next few days whether to invite its supporters to vote for the leader of the ANO movement in two weeks.
As SPD leader Tomio Okamura pointed out on Saturday, Bašta’s statements that he doesn’t like Babiš or Pavel mean nothing after the first round.
“We are talking about it with Jaroslav Basta. In the next few days, we will calmly evaluate which candidates offer the citizens of the Czech Republic and we will make a decision based on that,” Okamura said, while SPD vice-chairman Jaroslav Foldina met Babis at his home in Prohonice – Consequently he congratulated the Pope.
“We met with Mr. Foltina and it is true. We determined that relatively few people came to the elections in the Ústí region,” confirmed Andrej Babiš, head of the ANO movement.
For example, Pavel Ranoča, an analyst at the Kantar Research Institute, doubts the transfer of Bašta voters to Babiš. “I wouldn’t dare say that a majority of voters will come out in favor of Mr. Babiš,” a Czech TV expert questioned whether Bašt’s voters would lean toward Babiš — regardless of the SPD’s appeal.
Let there be peace in Ukraine
In the last days of the campaign, Babiš targeted Bašt’s supporters – announcing that he would resolve the war in Ukraine by making peace. This was one of Pasta’s election slogans.
“If I become president, I will organize a peace conference in Prague Castle. Everything must be done to end the war and stop people from dying,” Babis said in a televised debate on Nova TV on Thursday.
And a pacifying solution to the war in Ukraine (without explaining how to appease Russia) has been repeated in public by other YES politicians. “The war in Europe must end as soon as possible,” Ondřej Prokop, head of ANO in Prague, posted on social networks on Friday.
Therefore, although Bašta and the SPD did not immediately call their voters to vote for Babiš in two weeks, it is important whether these people (and not only) start looking for a title of peace in Babiš. In addition, Bašta and Babiš meet on another agenda: both criticize the government and both promise to fight heartily.
Pasta’s communist past haunts him
On the other hand, Pasta attacked Babiš in debates and interviews. For example, he recalled his collaboration with the communist secret police – he said they still had a file on Babiš in Moscow. “His voters are unlikely to make it to the second round,” assessed analyst Ranocha.
Pasta, a signatory who was persecuted during the authoritarian regime for signing Charter 77, also had a problem with Peter Pavel’s communist past.
“I was sorry. I believe that SPD voters do not want the representatives of an anti-social government in the fortress, which helps people late and less,” Andrzej Babis told Bast’s supporters in his post-election speech on Saturday.
Pre-election polls in recent months have recorded a growing trend in preferences for pasta. For example, Median’s last pre-election poll had him as the 4th favorite in the election. He calculated his voter base at 4 percent and a possible 7.5 percent.
The STEM/MARK agency’s January forecast indicated a preference of 4.1 percent. In a sample of 68 percent of the votes counted, he received 5.4 percent.