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Právo: Czechs to face elections every year until 2027

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Prague, June 8 (CTK) – Czechs will go to elections every year from 2016 until 2027 when a total of 19 elections are scheduled, daily Pravo writes yesterday.
It says this year is the only one when voters and political parties can have a rest before a permanent election campaign.
The parties have started preparing for the regional election to be held next year along with the election to one-third of the Senate, the upper house of parliament, Pravo adds.
The regular election to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, is scheduled for 2017.
In 2018, Czechs are to vote even three times – in the January presidential election and then in the autumn local and Senate polls.
The election marathon will not only test the voters’ patience, but also burden the parties’ coffers, Pravo says.
The government ANO movement of Andrej Babis, for instance, spent 119 million crowns on the campaign for the 2013 general election, another 24.3 million on the EP election, 16.5 million on the Senate polls and 48.5 million on the local polls.
The senior ruling Social Democrats’ (CSSD) campaign ahead of the the European polls cost about 26.1 million and 87 million went to the 2013 general election, Pravo says.
However, CSSD chairman and PM Bohuslav Sobotka said the upcoming election marathon would not fully exhaust the parties’ finances.
“We do not intend to purchase votes through expensive campaigns. Not money, but a trustworthy programme and strong personalities are decisive,” Sobotka told Pravo.
He indicated that the CSSD would like to search for such personalities by opening the party more to the public and attracting new members.
Babis admitted that his ANO movement would have to economise and that its candidates would have to be gaining money themselves.
Political scientist Jiri Pehe says one cannot have too much democracy, commenting on the election schedule for the next years.
“This is a certain school of democracy. People will have to consider their decisions. The problem is that citizens often do not distinguish between various election levels and the lower ones are turning into a platform to solve unresolved national disputes, which has a destabilising impact on the government,” Pehe told Pravo.
His colleague Jan Bures admitted that too frequent elections would lead to a lower turnout.
On the other hand, he said, they may also have a positive effect and open politics more to independent personalities since the parties cannot afford to “recycle well-known faces,” Bures said.
He, however, warned of a “programme exhaustion” if parties must repeatedly present new slogans and programmes. They will try to draw attention by original populist ideas and more and more concrete promises in the areas in which politics has not interfered so far, Bures said.
Political scientist Tomas Lebeda pointed out that the interest in elections would mainly depend on the urgent character of political developments.
Nevertheless, frequent elections will disturb peace for governing since they will increase tension among the coalition parties fighting for votes, he added.
($1=24.426 crowns)

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