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Czech PM's party suffers big loss in regional vote

PRAGUE--The Czech Republic's ruling Civic Democratic Party suffered a drubbing in regional and upper house elections as voters punished the government for spending cuts and sleaze scandals, results showed on Saturday.

The Civic Democrats of center-right Prime Minister Petr Necas won 12.3 percent of the national vote, just over half of their 2008 result, trailing the center-left Social Democrats with 23.6 percent and the far-left Communists with 20.4 percent, results from 99 percent of voting stations showed. The center-left Social Democrats, the main opposition party, also lost popularity from four years ago, when they won 35.8 percent.

The biggest gainers were the Communists, descendants of the former Czechoslovak totalitarian rulers, and several small local parties which won many more seats in the 13 regional assemblies than four years ago.

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