Election to the Chamber of Deputies in October 2013 were second election for TOP 09 on the national level. Even after three years of being in a reforming government the party got 11,9 % of votes and became the fourth strongest party in the Czech Parliament, with the best result from all parties from the former government. Since then TOP 09 has 26 representatives in the Chamber of Deputies.
TOP 09 is a conservative party established in 2009. Its principles, ethos and objectives can be found here. In 2010, TOP 09 participated in its first elections to the lower house of the Czech Parliament.
The party finished third overall, securing an impressive 16% of votes. This gave TOP 09 the opportunity to realise its reform agenda in coalition with the Civic Democrats Party (‘ODS’) and the Public Affairs Party (‘VV’). This cooperation lasted three years. Following the recent affair involving former Prime Minister Petr Nečas (ODS) and the dissolution of parliament, a new coalition could not be formed and early elections were called. The elections are nine months ahead of schedule. According to law, early elections must follow strict legal procedures in terms of their timing. Czech citizens will go the polls on 25 and 26 October 2013.
In terms of its people, TOP 09 is represented by Mr Karel Schwarzenberg. Mr Schwarzenberg is not only the Chairman of TOP 09 but also former minister of foreign affairs and presidential candidate. At the beginning of 2013, Mr Schwarzenberg advanced to the second round of the Czech presidential elections. These elections and the campaign itself had a positive impact on party preferences for TOP 09. The party’s second influential personality is Mr Miroslav Kalousek – the first Vice-Chairman of TOP 09 and the former minister of finance of the Czech Republic. Mr Kalousek personifies reform and was twice recognised as the best minister of finance in the CEE region.
Research and surveys have shown that the political situation in the Czech Republic is, for many people, unclear and confusing. This is mainly due to opposing and polarised policies of ODS and the Social Democrats Party (‘ČSSD’). The longstanding, weak leadership of ODS was no doubt exposed further by the presidential campaign which divided the political scene in the Czech Republic into two distinct camps. What is extraordinary about this division is that the two ‘camps’ exist separate to the traditional ODS and ČSSD rivalry. In the second round of the presidential elections, Mr Schwarzenberg went head-to head with the Honorary Chairman of the SPOZ Party (a small party which, after preferences, marginally crossed the 5% threshold to enter the House of Deputies).
The Czech political scene has also seen the emergence of a new political movement called ‘ANO’ (in English: YES) led by the controversial billionaire Andrej Babiš. Also significant is the long running and strong position of ČSSD and its increased support of the Communist Party (‘KSČM’). Some research predicts that these two parties between them are likely to gain a constitutional majority. This outcome would result in an overall constitutional majority because the Senate is dominated by left-wing parties.
For a long time and, without doubt, thanks to the popularity of Mr Schwarzenberg, TOP 09 receives support from young voters. Parts of the campaign strategy are aimed specifically at these voters. In 2010, Mr Schwarzenberg appeared as a skeleton under an X-ray as the ‘transparent Chairman.’ See: link . Three years later, Mr Schwarzenberg appeared again – this time as a punk. See: link . This year, these communicative themes continue.
The campaign strategy of TOP 09 is based on its own and publicly available sociological research. From its beginnings, the party seeks to define voter behaviour rather than focus on socio-demographics or socio-economics. These findings are used to develop long-term voter trend analysis. At its very core, TOP 09 is a party with a conservative agenda and liberal constituency. Its voters who tend to be younger, more qualified and motivated. The cusp of August and September 2013 saw quick-fire sociological research on themes in the media. This weekend will see the analysis of data from the largest survey conducted for this election. The results will used to narrow the scope of the campaign strategy for the remaining three weeks of the campaign.
The campaign of TOP 09 and Starostů is aimed at conservative and right-of-centre voters. The campaign highlights the undemocratic actions of the President, busts traditional leftist myths and warns voters of the unrealisable or even dangerous promises of the political newcomers. TOP 09 presents itself as a stable party which defends the rights and values of voters who want to work and be responsible for their own lives - voters who the state should help, not hinder or dictate.
According to all surveys and research, one of the biggest problems of the population is a lack of vision. For this reason, our campaign has attempted to give voters a vision which goes like this: ‘We know where we are going.’ This message allows TOP 09 to raise issues which naturally lead in to the definition of this vision. See: link.
Authoritarian government vs a government of authorities.
Spending vs sound investment.
Complaining about life vs active participation in elections.
These three, simple examples enable voters to conclude that TOP 09 is the party for them.
From its establishment, TOP 09 has kept away from populist ideologies and slogans. The ethos of the party lie with responsible management of the economy, supporting entrepreneurship and giving state-funded help where it is needed instead of giving expensive and superficial ‘hand-outs.’
This campaign attempts to reach out to voters on themes which are part of the TOP 09 program. Instead of making reckless promises, the campaign points out the prohibitive or even the absurd election pledges of its left-wing opponents in the election:
Higher taxes do not mean new jobs.
Welfare hand-outs do not motivate people to work.
Cutting service charges will not make health care accessible to all.
This year Chairman Schwarzenberg ‘rocks the establishment’ by presenting himself as different to the other political leaders and as a man with a great oversight. As Agent TOP 009, he reports for duty to the Czech Republic and lightens the atmosphere of an election campaign full of mud-slinging and slander by collaborating with various secret service agencies…..
TOP 09 tries, in each campaign, to present conservative values and programs in an understandable way in the context of the time and place in which they occur. For example, for patrons of rock clubs TOP 09 offers: IRON CURTAIN OR HEAVY METAL.
A considerable part of the campaign is communicated through the internet and social networks. An on-line environment enables us to communicate target issues to target groups as well as interaction between candidates, supporters, voters, our competitors and opponents.
The involvement of supporters and volunteers is a vital part of our campaign. Their help significantly influences our visibility, and the overall ‘mood.’ TOP 09 is also a pioneer of political marketing techniques which have been adopted by other states - whether it be the first successful telephone campaign of a presidential election (in 2013) or efforts to implement a door - to - door campaign based on analysis of electoral districts. Of course, the use of new technologies extends beyond online campaigns alone.