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Czech News in English » Opinion » HN: Time of Czech Communists has finally come

HN: Time of Czech Communists has finally come

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Prague, Oct 5 (CTK) – The time of the Communists (KSCM) has finally come as Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) has invited them to the government in order to beat the offer for cooperation made by ANO leader Andrej Babis, David Klimes writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) on Wednesday.

In an interview for HN issued on Wednesday, CSSD chairman Sobotka admitted that the party might rule the country together with the KSCM after the 2017 elections provided that the Communists do not challenge the Czech membership of the European Union and NATO.

Sobotka decided to break the taboo of not forming a national government with Communists. What a wonderful present to yesterday’s birth anniversary of late president Vaclav Havel, Klimes writes with irony.

Such government alliance cannot end well, he says.

The debate on whether the KSCM may be part of the Czech government has been held since the early 1990s. It seems clear that sooner or later the Communists will enter the government somehow. But the present circumstances are extremely important, Klimes writes.

There has been no gradual and slow process of letting the undemocratic and anti-system party, which denies the crimes of communism and the Czech membership in the Western structures, participate in power. Such a process would have forced this party to cultivate its programme step by step, Klimes says.

After the disintegration of the two centres of political power, the CSSD and the Civic Democrats (ODS), big parties disappeared from the Czech Republic. Moreover, there are no stable coalition partners who would be certain to enter parliament in the next elections. The present coalition of the ANO movement and the CSSD is a good example of this: these two parties would like to oppose one another, but they must rule the country together, he writes.

This situation turns the Communists into the kingmaker, he says.

Neither ANO leader Andrej Babis nor Sobotka have ruled out alliances with the Communists. In the regional authorities, ANO and the CSSD consider them one of the best solutions and after the 2017 general election one of the parties might rule the country with them, Klimes writes.

The Communists are not stupid. They are aware of their price and the price is really high now – they are the most attractive partner for both parties that dominate the present Czech politics. Such an opportunity must not be wasted, Klimes says.

When defending the possible cooperation with the KSCM, Babis makes voters responsible for it, arguing that he must respect that they keep casting their votes for the KSCM, he writes.

Sobotka has a different argument: he says the KSCM-CSSD regional alliances have worked well. It is true that none of the given regions wants to become part of North Korea. But at the same time the Communists will demand a bigger share in power after the weekend regional elections. Four years ago they were glad that the CSSD made a deal with them, while now they will present their demands, Klimes writes.

A similar situation may of course occur in the national government. Though the CSSD would refuse to give the foreign ministry to the KSCM after the next general election, the Communists may become strong enough to demand it later on. The Czechs tend to trust the communists, unfortunately, Klimes writes, hinting at the postwar period and the 1948 communist coup.

One can hardly imagine that the KSCM had to fear for its existence only five years ago when the ODS was hit by a rather belated wave of anti-communism under Mirek Topolanek, which resulted in the proposal of a ban imposed on the KSCM. This plan failed, which all reasonable constitutional lawyers appreciated. The fact that the Communists say horrible things gives the democratic state no right to exclude them from the political competition, especially after the KSCM has been working in parliament for 20 years, Klimes writes.

Yet democratic parties still respected the rule that short-term pacts can be made with the KSCM in parliament, but the country cannot be ruled with them, he says.

When it turned out in 2006 that Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) former leader Miroslav Kalousek negotiated about a possible government coalition with Jiri Paroubek’s CSSD that would be supported by the KSCM, he had to resign from his post. Not even the pragmatic Paroubek violated the ban on government cooperation with the KSCM, Klimes writes.

In 1995, the CSSD passed a resolution banning government cooperation with extremist parties, including the KSCM. This resolution has never been abolished.

However, the times are changing: simple calculations beat the self-preservation instinct of democracy and the 15 percent of stable votes for the Communists can reinforce various governments, he says.

These red votes have been lying on the ground unused for very long. All of a sudden, everybody is doing their utmost to pick them up. As a result, the Czech Republic may have a government including the Communists, tolerated by the nervous BIS counter-intelligence, next year, Klimes writes.

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