Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Respekt: ČR politically quite stable 27 years since Nov 1989

ČTK |
20 December 2016

Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) - The Czech state looked like a space of stable politics, having a quite well functioning economy and enjoying security from both historical and current European perspectives in 2016, the 27th year since the communist regime was toppled, Martin Svehla writes in weekly Respekt out yesterday.
Since the rightist Civic Democratic Party (ODS) fell and the ANO protest movement of billionaire businessman Andrej Babis, the owner of the biggest private firm in the country, took its place, the balance of forces in the country has not changed markedly, Svehla writes.
He writes that the opposition has never been so weak, while the government ANO and Social Democrats (CSSD) seem to be the most competent and ANO emerged stronger from their tug-of-war this year.
ANO has won over supporters from the opposite ends of the political spectrum - the leftist opposition Communists (KSCM) and the rightist opposition TOP 09, Svehla writes.
He writes that people do not heed the right's warning of the risks linked to ANO, such as the unprecedented conflict of interests or the use of media in politics, which public opinion polls prove.
However, Babis saw two complications this year. The parliament passed a bill that forces him to give up his business activities, including the media ownership, as a politician.
In addition, the regional election, in which ANO won in nine out of 13 regions, were a bitter lesson for Babis: ANO only has five regional governors because of the other parties' unwillingess to form coalitions with him. This obscures his outlook for becoming the prime minister after next year's general election, Svehla writes.
The closure of the Balkan migrant route stripped political extremists of their theme. Yet, this year has indicated that the most popular xenophobe, Tomio Okamura, has a good chance of re-entering the Chamber of Deputies, Svehla writes.
He writes that the anti-Islam fighter, Martin Konvicka, has suffered an utter political defeat. He believed that his Facebook popularity will secure him a seat in the Senate, which did not happen.
Some may not like Czech politics being controlled by a conventional cautious attitude to European issues, but unlike Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary or Poland, there is no threat of extremists scoring a big election success in the Czech Republic, Svehla writes.
He writes that the government is lucky because the world economy is doing well, but at the same time it is not possible to deny its own successes.
The government is successful in improving tax collection and its offices have avoided corruption scandals, yet the government has been faced with certain serious shortcomings, Svehla writes.
He writes that this is true of population ageing and the payment of pensions in the future. World surveys have revealed the declining results of Czech schools and Czech polls have shown that neither children nor teachers are happy about learning and teaching.
Svehla writes that no post-November 1989 government has taken this theme seriously, and the same applies to Sobotka's CSSD-ANO-Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) present government.
This year's melting of certainties about the future development in the surrounding world was no negligible fact. A possible disintegration of the European Union and even a disintegration of the cohesion of the West are being talked about, Svehla writes.
The reasons are the U.S. presidential election, Brexit, Russia's overt aggression taking the form of cyber attacks, the hate campaigns on the Internet, the fomenting of the migrant crisis, Svehla writes.
The government policy only reacts to certain issues. It has at last decided to raise spending on the military, to set up its special group to fight cyber crime and propaganda, Svehla writes.
He writes that activities on the EU soil have traditionally remained a weak point. The Czech government keeps in the main stream in support for the anti-Russian sanctions, but it has given up responsibility for a share in the migrant crisis.
However, on the whole, 2016 has been one the more successful years and the country belonged to the calmer corners of Europe, Svehla writes.

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