Monday, 23 October 2017

Pirates on rise, should seriously formulate programme

ČTK |
4 October 2017

Prague, Oct 3 (CTK) - The Czech Pirate Party (CPS) should try to seriously formulate its policy now that it has a chance of entering parliament for the first time, Josef Koukal writes in daily Pravo on Tuesday in reaction to the CPS's rising voter preferences before the October 20-21 general election.

"We will be the black horse of the election," CPS chairman Ivan Bartos asserted earlier this year. Fresh public opinion polls indicate that the party might really cross the 5-percent parliament threshold and Bartos's assertion might come true, Koukal writes.

The question is what the effect of the CPS's success on the Czech political scene would be, he writes.

In all previous elections, the CPS was a party people supported "out of embarrassment." Apart from protest voters, the CPS always attracted the "eternal seekers" from among liberal-minded people who seek an alternative to big parties, Koukal writes.

However, historical experience shows that the hopeful minor alternative groupings such as the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA), the Freedom Union, the Greens and the Public Affairs (VV) often end up as fast-fading "political will-o'-the-wisps," Koukal writes.

If the Pirates want to be a viable project, they have to "find themselves" as a potential parliamentary party. In high politics, a party cannot survive as a representative of one generation only. It is not enough for it to impress young voters with the invention of the Internet and the introduction of democratic decision-making processes that work in all parties in a way, or come up with proposals such as that drafted new bills should be assessed by teams of experts, which is a matter of course, Koukal writes.

Many parties promoted all these steps before, but they failed to stick to them after coming to power, he writes.

If the Pirates want to be more than a seasonal affair, the first thing they have to give up is their image of the greatest political punks, Koukal continues.

This image attracted voters in the past, but it cannot do so repeatedly. After four years, someone else will offer this image, regardless of the fact that the criticism of bureaucracy is an evergreen and the legalisation of marijuana is not so effective a topic, Koukal writes.

In addition, the CPS's image of a morally impeccable team would be swept away by the first political or financial scandal, which no party can avoid, Koukal writes.

At last, every party survives or falls based on the stability of its own programme. The Pirates are now fishing votes among the dissatisfied supporters of the government ANO movement and the rightist opposition TOP 09. However, they will have to unveil their own position sooner or later, Koukal writes.

The Pirates evidently do not feel like doing so. It is practically impossible to make the Pirates say with which of the big parties they would form a government. They only repeat that it is not necessary for the CPS to join the government at any cost. This response means no response, but it looks better, Koukal writes.

The Pirates do not like being labelled a new entity for permanent seekers and "wandering voters" to pin their hopes on, he writes.

"We have done a lot of work in municipal policy in the past eight years. People can see it and they appreciate it," Koukal quotes Bartos as saying.

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