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Czech News in English » Opinion » KSČM unlikely to swap gov't seats for pro-Western course

KSČM unlikely to swap gov’t seats for pro-Western course

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Prague, Oct 6 (CTK) – The Czech Communists (KSCM) are unlikely to accept a possible offer to join a Social Democrat (CSSD) government following a pro-Western course after the late 2017 general election, Lukas Jelinek writes in daily Pravo on Thursday.

He says the welfare state and social policy is a sphere that connects the two left-wing parties, but their stance on foreign and security affairs, especially the Czech membership of NATO and the European Union, is very different.

By considering a joint left-wing government that would respect the country’s international pledges, CSSD leader Bohuslav Sobotka is eroding the Communist monolith, Jelinek writes.

If the KSCM accepted such an offer, the step might be revolutionary and perhaps even fateful for it, he says.

France of President Francois Mitterrand is a warning for the Communists, he writes.

After the French Communists joined the Mitterrand government in 1981, they lost the appeal of a protest party and their popularity shrunk.

Jelinek says this is why the KSCM probably would not be eager to join a socialist government. The Communists will be satisfied that other parties take them seriously, he adds.

Czechs are mostly afraid of other things than the Communists. The times when debates about the possible participation of the KSCM in the government focused on the question whether this would legitimise an undemocratic and even extremist stream that was behind forty years of oppression are gone, Jelinek writes, referring to the Czechoslovak communist regime (1948-1989).

He says some parties still promise to oust Communists from the regional self-rule bodies in their election campaigns, but is an echo of war cries from battles that have been over.

The Communists currently pose a bigger threat to the Social Democrats than to democracy as they can win over a substantial part of the CSSD voters, Jelinek writes.

The fears in the current world play into the hands of the conservative and nationalist left wing. However, Sobotka believes that the CSSD will remain the dominant left-wing power, he says.

If politics were a perfect world in which parties could fulfil their dreams, the Social Democrats could reject an alliance with the ANO movement of oligarch Andrej Babis, current finance minister. They could reject any cooperation with the “anti-social” right-wing TOP 09 and Civic Democrats (ODS) whom the left-wing voters can’t stand, especially after the austerity measures introduced by the previous government of Petr Necas (ODS) and Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09). And they would have nothing in common with the controversial Communists, Jelinek writes.

But the rejection of such cooperation would mean that there is nobody with whom the CSSD could rule the country, he says.

The current Czech politics cannot be interpreted as the classical battle between the right and the left, due to the anti-political ANO movement, Jelinek writes.

A fight between the political and anti-political groupings is inhibited because the Communists have been excluded from the competition, he writes.

Apart from this, Babis, whose thinking is based on bargaining rather than any political ideology, is openly flirting with the KSCM, Jelinek says.

If the KSCM does not discredit itself by support for undemocratic and violent plans, for example in relation to minorities, it will be sooner or later accepted by the other parties as a common rival team, Jelinek writes.

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