PRAGUE, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Czech centre-left Social Democrats look set to win the largest portion of the vote in a parliamentary election on Oct. 25-26, called seven months early after the collapse of a centre-right cabinet in June.
But they will fall short of a majority, and will look for partners to either form a coalition or win support for their minority cabinet.
Here are brief profiles of parties that have a chance of crossing the 5 percent threshold to win parliamentary seats.
SOCIAL DEMOCRATS (CSSD) - The Social Democrats want to work towards joining the euro around 2020. They hope to roll back pension and health reforms enacted by the previous centre-right administration and raise taxes for high wage earners.
The party wants a tax of 25 to 30 percent on major energy utilities, telecoms and financial institutions, up from 19 percent. Corporate tax for other firms would rise to 21 percent.
It says it would try to keep the public sector deficit below the EU-prescribed limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product.
Running under the slogan "We will secure a well-functioning state", it pledges to end patient payments for healthcare, raise the minimum wage, and boost investment in infrastructure.
Party Chairman Bohuslav Sobotka, 41, a career politician with a law degree, has been locked in a rivalry with his no. 2 Michal Hasek, who has been close to president Milos Zeman. An unconvincing election win could spark a revolt against Sobotka.
COMMUNIST PARTY (KSCM) - The party shares much of its agenda with the CSSD, such as progressive taxation, higher corporate tax and scrapping right-wing health and social reforms.
But it sharply differs from the Social Democrats by viewing NATO, which the Czechs joined in 1999, as a Cold War hangover that should be abolished.
The Communists were never banned after they lost their grip on power in the 1989 "Velvet Revolution" and have always retained seats in parliament, albeit without any direct or indirect participation in any of the post-1989 governments.
They have been cooperating with the Social Democrats in regional governments for almost a year and may lend parliamentary support to a Social Democrat minority cabinet.
ANO 2011 - The ANO movement, whose name means "yes" and is also an acronym for the Alliance of Dissatisfied Citizens in Czech, was set up by Forbes-listed billionaire Andrej Babis, the owner of food and chemical firms as well as two newspapers.
Babis has assembled a group of academics, actors and businessmen on his ticket. His main themes are eradicating graft and streamlining state institutions.
TOP09 - The conservative party, set up in 2009 under the leadership of popular former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, backs tight fiscal policies and EU integration.
The party's vice-chairman and main day-to-day leader, Miroslav Kalousek, was the architect of the previous centre-right cabinet's austerity policies.
TOP09 supports joining the EU's fiscal compact and adoption of the euro around 2018-2020.
CIVIC DEMOCRATS (ODS) - The centre-right Civic Democrats (ODS), who spearheaded post-communist economic reforms under former prime minister Vaclav Klaus, are struggling with the steepest decline in support in their 22-year history.
They have borne the brunt of public anger at austerity policies as well as graft scandals which have led to police investigations of public tenders.
ODS Prime Minister Petr Necas resigned in June after police charged his lover and top aide with illegally ordering military intelligence to spy on Necas's wife.
The party is mildly eurosceptic. It is against joining the EU's fiscal pact and rejects further EU integration.
CITIZENS' RIGHTS PARTY-THE ZEMANITES (SPOZ) - The Zemanites were conceived to help former leftist prime minister Milos Zeman get elected president, as he eventually was in January.
The party presents itself as a leftist alternative to the Social Democrats and Communists. SPOZ has five ministers from the current interim government on its ticket.
CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS (KDU-CSL) - The centrist Christian Democrats, with backing in more religious rural areas, are trying to return to parliament after dropping out in 2010 for the first time in decades.
The party may be a coalition partner to both centre-right and centre-left parties.
USVIT - Usvit, meaning "Dawn", is a movement campaigning for direct democracy. Its leader, Senator Tomio Okamura, has been criticised for his tough stance against people in poor ghettos, mostly from the Roma community.
For more on the election click on (Reporting by Robert Muller; editing by Andrew Roche)