Monday, 21 April 2014

Právo: Not the first time KSČM fares well in polls since 1989

17 October 2012

Prague, Oct 16 (CTK) - The Czech Communists' (KSCM) gains in the weekend regional and Senate polls do not dramatically differ from what the party has shown several times since the fall of the Communist regime in 1989 when the ODS and CSSD disgusted voters with their policies, Jiri Pehe writes in Pravo yesterday.

This time, the KSCM has won in two regions, beating the Social Democrats (CSSD) and scored good results in other regions as well. The CSSD won in nine of 13 regions and the Civic Democrats (ODS) in one region. The Mayors for the Liberec Region movements succeeded in the 13th region.

The KSCM scored an excellent result in 2000, that is halfway through the opposition agreement, for instance, Pehe writes.

Under the opposition agreement, signed in 1998, the ODS supported a CSSD minority government in exchange for a portion of power. The opposition agreement is assessed as the start of the two strongest Czech parties' cooperation in unfair practices.

Pehe writes that like at the time of the opposition the KSCM fared well this time not thanks to an attractive programme or the masses' revolutionary fervour. It was a collector of "tired" protest votes against the government policy and the thinning of the border between the government and the opposition.

Or, the KSCM was perceived as the sole genuine opposition party, Pehe writes.

It profited from that the right-wing parties control the central government while the CSSD controls all regions, with the exception of Prague, which means that the KSCM was in fact the sole bigger opposition party, Pehe writes.

He says this does not mean that the CSSD and ODS's corruption scandals should be overlooked as one of the reasons of their defeat.

The CSSD's loss of some 400,000 votes in this year's regional elections compared with 2008 is also partially due to the situation inside the party, even though it cannot be said that the CSSD experiences the same internal crisis like the ODS, Pehe writes.

In spite of its internal problems, the CSSD has succeeded in defending its position in regions. If national elections were held now, the government parties would not defend their position, but they would be faced with the danger of a complete debacle, Pehe writes.

He writes that the KSCM also profited from the low turnout (below 37 percent) because its voters went obediently to the polls. It will hardly repeat its regional success in the national elections, in which turnout is more than 50 percent.

Generally speaking, it is a sad fact that the "democratic parties," particularly the right-wing ones, are responsible for the KSCM's mounting influence, Pehe writes.

He says their attitudes to the KSCM are entirely schizophrenic. On the one hand they strike deals with the Communists wherever possible.

On the other hand, the right mobilises against the Communists and together with the CSSD keeps the KSCM in a position that allows it to criticise everything from parliament while it is responsible for nothing, Pehe writes.

He says the fact that the KSCM will perhaps head two regions is a good piece of news. It will be a test of its abilities to assume responsibility.

If it fails, or if it becomes entangled in corruption like the other parties, many voters will lose their illusions about the party, Pehe writes.

If it succeeds, why should not Communists be taken on the central government? There is a shortage of reasonable politicians and managers on the government level, Pehe writes.

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