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HN: Winner out of game is logical in Czech proportional system

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Prague, Oct 12 (CTK) – The possibility that the winner will not rule is part of the logic of the proportional election system and a sort of safeguard against extreme or irregular parties gaining power too easily, Petr Honzejk writes about the Czech regional elections in Hospodarske noviny (HN) yesterday.
He is commenting on the negotiations after the recent elections, in which the ANO movement of Finance Minister Andrej Babis won in nine regions, while the Social Democrats (CSSD), who headed 11 out of 13 regions until the elections, only won in two.
The post-election negotiations indicate that ANO might eventually only have four regional governments, which is no betrayal of voters [as President Milos Zeman has said], Honzejk writes.
He writes that every party is mainly accountable to its voters and it is clear that it can better push through its programme in regional councils rather than in opposition.
If several smaller parties put together a majority against one larger, it is not strange, the less so reprehensible, Honzejk writes.
On the contrary, it would be strange if smaller parties did not want to assert themselves and humbly withdrew into an insignificant position, Honzejk writes.
He adds that this would be a betrayal of their voters, not what they are doing now, trying to attain the maximum posssible.
If someone wants to be sure of governing, they must win massively, which would make them indispensable, not by a mere couple of percent as ANO did, Honzejk writes.
ANO won 21.05 percent of the vote, the CSSD came second with 15.24 percent.
Honzejk writes that unless ANO rules in all regions, this will be no “hypocrisy of the defeated who are trying to put together a coalition of the incompetent against the winners,” as ANO deputy Martin Komarek has put it.
In the proportional system, the competent and the incompetent are not distinguished by small differences in the votes gained, but rather by the ability to seek and find allies, Honzejk writes.
He writes that if Babis’s people in regions are unable to do this, it is only their own mistake.
However, this does not mean that excluding ANO from the game would be too far-sighted. It can result in reinforcing Babis’ story about a conspiracy against him and it can boost his chances in the general election to be held in a year, Honzejk writes.
Though this is not rational, emotions play the decisive role in present-day politics. Despite the story about “a betrayal of voters” being nonsensical, emotions will play into the hands of Babis, Honzejk writes.

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