Politics is a story of ebb and flow, of triumph and setback, and ultimately, of resilience. Few examples illustrate this as vividly as the Civic Democratic Party’s (ODS) collapse and revival in Czechia. Once a powerhouse in Czech politics, the ODS, a founding member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) in Europe, experienced a seismic collapse in 2013, one that threatened to relegate it to the annals of history.
Hit by a scandal involving Prime Minister Petr Nečas, coupled with internal divisions and disillusionment among voters, the party found itself in a whirlwind of instability. It lost its prime minister, couldn’t form a new government, and then suffered a crushing defeat in early elections, finishing a disappointing 5th overall and securing only 16 out of 200 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The party that once led Czechia was on its knees. But, as it often happens in politics, crises beget opportunities.
Fast forward less than a decade later, and the ODS has not only recovered but has emerged as the leading political force in the country.
And while this is a story of resilience, strategy, and the power of effective political campaigning, please allow me to make a disclaimer: it is important to acknowledge that ODS’s journey was not without its challenges and controversies, as is the case with any political story. Nevertheless, for the purpose of this story, I have chosen to highlight the aspects and decisions that enabled the party’s return to prominence, albeit understanding the risk of sounding impartial due to the lack of mentioning controversies and potential criticisms to the party and its leadership.