Authoritarian Populism Index.

The Authoritarian Populism Index is developed by Timbro.

Timbro is the leading free market think tank in the Nordic countries. Our mission is to promote and disseminate ideas supporting the principles of free markets, free enterprise, individual liberty and a free society. Timbro was founded in 1978 by Sture Eskilsson and the Swedish Employers’ Association, a precursor to the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.  Since 2003, Timbro is financed by the Swedish Free Enterprise Foundation.


International outreach and translation supported by Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Atlas Network.

Czech Republic

Populism Rank: 6


Voter support for radical left in last elections (2021): – 4.6%.
Voter support for radical right in last elections: + 1.4%.
Populist or radical parties in government (2023): none
Number of radical or populist MEP:s (2019): 9/21.

01 Speakers

In 1990, the Czech opposition united under the umbrella organization Civic Forum, easily winning the first free elections. By the second elections in 1992, six months before the division of Czechoslovakia, Czechia had developed a pluralistic party system with Christian Democrats, liberals, conservatives, greens, and even a Social Democratic party (CSSD) with roots dating back to the interwar years. While the center-right parties emerged victorious in 1992 and 1996, the CSSD won in 1998 and 2002, followed by another power shift in 2006. However, in the last two decades Czech party politics have become much more volatile, with the emergence of many new parties, including several populist ones.

The Civic Democratic Party (ODS), under the longtime leadership of Vaclav Klaus, combined market liberal views on the economy with soft euroscepticism and national conservative views on immigration. ODS teamed up with the British conservatives in the European Parliament, being co founders of the ECR group in 2009.

Vaclav Klaus.

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) is the most successful communist party in post-communist Europe. As a direct successor of the party that ruled Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, it has maintained its name and ideology unchanged. KSCM focuses on welfare issues, opposes NATO, and prefers closer ties with Russia. KSCM is also eurosceptic and somewhat anti-immigration. Support for the party remained pretty stable until the mid 2010s but has since dropped considerably. The party was represented in every parliament until 2021. 


The Rally for the Republic (SPR-RSC) is a far-right party founded in 1989, achieving its peak electoral performance in 1996 when it secured fifth place with eight percent of the vote. It lost representation two years later, and although the party is still around, the voters have left. The SPR-RSC distinguished itself through its opposition to Czech EU and Nato membership, as well as its stance against immigration. Additionally, the party advocated for economic populism and garnered attention for its openly anti-Roma sentiment.


The Labor Party (DSSS) was even more radical than the SPR-RSC. The party was formed in 2003 as a competitor to KSCM, advocating free healthcare. Founded in 2003 as a competitor to KSCM, the party initially advocated for free healthcare. Over time, it shifted towards a more anti-communist and nationalist stance, emphasizing law and order and launching campaigns against minorities. They sought to ban homosexuality and organized mobs targeting Roma people. In the early 2010s, the party was banned by the Czech Supreme Court for its anti-democratic ideology. Although the party claims to have a National Socialist perspective, it denies being influenced by Hitler’s Nazism. However, it has a youth wing, Delnicka Mladez, reminiscent of the Hitler Youth. Following the ban, the party changed its name to the Workers Party for Social Justice.

Delnicka Mladez.

ANO 2011 (“Yes”) was founded as a civic movement in 2011 by Andrej Babis, one of the wealthiest men in the country, and swiftly gained electoral momentum through its strong anti-corruption message. It came second in the parliamentary election in 2013 after which they entered the government as a junior coalition partner alongside the CSSD and the Christian Democrats. In June 2014, they won the European elections. Following the 2017 general election, Babis assumed the role of prime minister, initially leading a short-lived one-party minority government before forming a coalition with the CSSD in 2018. Despite being another minority government, Babis garnered parliamentary support from the KSCM, effectively ending the longstanding cordon sanitaire against the communists. After losing the elections in 2021, ANO for the first time became an opposition party.


ANO is widely described in the literature as a populist party, although analysts vary in their placement of the party on the political spectrum, with some positioning it in the centre and others in the centre-right. Babis himself portrayed himself as a business leader rather than a politician and in the election campaign in 2013, the slogan was: “We’re not like the politicians. We toil.” In recent years, ANO has displayed a shift towards the left on economic matters while adopting a more conservative stance on social issues. The party’s stance towards the EU has been ambiguous, with occasional expressions of euroscepticism alongside instances of support for the Euro. Babis has been highly critical of the EU:s climate policy. During the 2021 election campaign, ANO predominantly emphasised welfare policies and anti-immigration rhetoric.


The party, particularly under its leader Babis, has faced criticism for its authoritarian tendencies. A string of political and financial scandals in 2018 and 2019 led to widespread demonstrations against the Babis government. Several former MPs and MEPs have departed from the party, citing ANO’s departure from liberal principles. Despite these challenges, ANO has maintained its popularity among voters, consistently leading in the polls over the past decade and polling well above 30 percent at the start of 2024.

Andrej Babis, founder of ANO.

Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) was founded in 2015 by Tomio Okamura, who split from a short-lived populist party called Usvit, which he also founded. SPD positions itself as a national conservative and populist party, emphasising anti-immigration policies, resistance to Islam and multiculturalism. During the 2017 election campaign, the party’s slogan was simply “No to Islam.” Okamura raised controversy in 2013, while leading Usvit, with the publication of a text where he argued that it was ““not the fault of the neo-Nazis, the Czechs or the Turks” that “gypsies” are “perceived pejoratively” today, and that the Czech Republic should “democratically support the gypsies’ emigration”.

Tomio Okamura, founder of SPD.

 SPD advocates for a Czech exit from the EU, as well as NATO, and is strongly eurosceptic. The party gained support from its opposition to Covid-19 restrictions. In the European Parliament, SPD aligns closely with the Identity and Democracy group, from which it drew inspiration for its name. During national elections, the party has received endorsements from Marine Le Pen, while Viktor Orbán endorsed ANO.


The Tricolour Citizens’ Movement was formed in 2019 as a national conservative party, bringing together several small right wing populist parties. It failed to enter parliament in 2021 and has teamed up with SPD for the 2024 EP elections.

EP elections

Number of authoritarian or populist MEP:s (2019): 9/21


KSCM has had representation in the European Parliament since the Czech Republic joined in 2004. Currently, it has one MEP, Katerina Konecna, who has been serving as both MEP and party leader since 2023. Konecna has faced criticism for defending Azerbaijan on human rights issues.


ANO joined the ALDE group in 2014 and has remained, although several MEP:s have left. SPD is a member of the ID group.

ANO summary

Economics: CENTRE-LEFT
Social issues: MODERATE
Democratic credibility: MEDIUM

SPD summary

Economics: CENTRE-LEFT
Social issues: CONSERVATIVE
Democratic credibility: MEDIUM