15 August 2006

The Cynics Intro To Czech Politics

The graph shows electoral turnout in the Czech Republic over time. When I last spent extended time in Prague, there was a widespread feeling that no matter who you voted for, the people and attitude of the political elite did not change. This graph covers that period and beyond demonstrating that the sense of disillusionment has, if anything increased.

As passing observers may be aware, the Czech elections in June ended in a dead heat with the Socialist(CSSD)/Communist grouping scoring 100 seats and the right-wing ODS and other smaller parties gaining the same number. The obvious and practical solution was to have another election, but by referring to a constitutional fig-leaf this option appears to have been rejected. Instead, over the last two months since the election has been marked by politicking at its worst - rumour, defector speculation, scandalous gossip and horse-trading. Finally, a break in the deadlock appears to be in sight. The Czech Republic's foremost English language subscription bulletin - Fleet Street made its view clear earlier in the week. In its view, the two major parties (CSSD & ODS) have used this crisis to cement their dominance and in the process are making sure none of the nasty skeletons in their cupboard will be rattled.

Of a similarly serious nature is that no political party will deliver on its election manifesto. There were some radical policies in the ODS manifesto such as flat rate tax. As a part of the ceasefire required to "form the government" such policies are unlikely to come to fruition. As part of the power-seeking process the ODS took the unprecedented step of offering offering to take forward the Opposition's policies!!! I hate to say it, but what are the Tories doing with these clowns?

Much will need to change before the typical Czech voter is voting without holding their nose.

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