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Respekt: New party Realists is populist, nationalist project

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Prague, Nov 28 (CTK) – The new Czech party Realists presented by political commentator Petr Robejsek, 67, is a populist right-wing project based on slogans about the nation and homeland and criticism of the European Union, Marek Svehla writes in the weekly Respekt out on Monday.

Robejsek has an ambition to win 20 percent of the vote in the general election due in late 2017, however, his party seems a classical elitist club, Svehla writes.

The Czech political leaders who won high popularity succeeded only because they had many meetings with their voters, Svehla writes.

He mentions former right-wing leader and president Vaclav Klaus, former left-wing leader and incumbent President Milos Zeman and billionaire Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) as examples.

Yet Robejsek has a chance to succeed. The human fear and bad mood in Czech society will play into his hands, Svehla writes.
He writes that Robejsek claims that the EU should be turned into a free trade community since it is unable to coordinate different national interests. In this respect, he is even more radical than pragmatist Babis.

Robejsek is the voice of those who do not respect the consensus of the democratic parties that the ties with their country’s allies and the EU membership are in the interest of the Czech Republic and who consider the nation rather than civic society to be the foundation, Svehla writes.

He writes that the nation-based concept requires an answer to the question who is part of the nation and who does not belong to it anymore, and what ought to be done with the latter group.

A cultivated political scientist who worked for a think tank based in Hamburg, Robejsek has become popular with the Czech media. In his first interview for a Czech daily, Rude pravo, in 1992, he said the Czech Republic was unlikely to join NATO in the next several years and that NATO might fall apart anyway, Svehla writes.

Later, Robejsek predicted a crisis of the euro and shortly before the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, he said the EU was not beneficial for its members. During the Greek crisis, the euro crisis and the migrant crisis, Robejsek sharply criticised the EU, Svehla writes.

Robejsek’s expert analyses, most of which were rather superficial, gradually turned into political speeches that attacked the “proud and greedy elites.” Though he fled to West Germany in the 1970s, he labelled Syrian refugees “fortune seekers” who failed to maintain peace and order in their homeland, Svehla writes.

Such comments made Robejsek popular among the Czechs and he decided to use the opportunity and establish the Realists, Svehla writes.

Robejsek quickly adopted the manners of an experienced politician: he praises his own project and rejects all other parties. “The present political elites…are incapable of coping with the new challenges that threaten the economic stability and security of our country,” Svehla quotes him as saying.

Robejsek claims that the Social Democrats (CSSD) fight for the rights of minorities at the expense of the silent majority and that the right-wing opposition parties are disintegrated. He says the present world is in a permanent crisis and faces an unstoppable decline of systems, Svehla writes.

But Robejsek can hardly win elections only thanks to eloquence and attacks against elites, especially when he is part of the elites, Svehla says.

Apart from a strong personality, all successful Czech political projects founded after 1989 had a strong topic: Klaus’s Civic Democratic Party (ODS) promoted a speedy introduction of capitalism, Babis’s ANO movement rejected the unpopular traditional political parties and promised to control the state like a business firm, Svehla writes.

He says Robejsek’s topic is the nation and its protection. Robejsek promises to protect Czech people from “anything that somebody wants to force upon us and which is not good for us.”

Robejsek’s intellectual statements sometimes hide the meaning of his words, but he always puts an emphasis on “national” qualities, Svehla writes.

The programme of the Realists focuses on values such as the family, security, justice and responsibility (not freedom), but Robejsek mostly talks about the nation, Svehla writes.

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