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Reflex: Style and vision are crucial in Czech election campaign

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Prague, June 29 (CTK) – Style and vision play the key role in the campaign before the Czech general election and ANO leader Andrej Babis’s fresh book about his dream of the Czech Republic in 2035 is a new political bible of the present time, Bohumil Pecinka writes in weekly Reflex out today.

He says the book by the rich businessman Babis offers all the communication codes used between politicians and voters to win the elections.

Czech politics has got closer to classical marketing in which the image is more important than the real quality, Pecinka writes.

It has become clear that many issues do not appeal to the Czech majority voter: more redistribution, lower taxes, the euro currency, reduction of red tape and the threat of the return of communism, among others, Pecinka writes.

He says these issues they will not markedly influence the voting preferences because the voters take these issues for granted.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the low preferences of his party are unfair because the voters should be grateful for all his government has done for them. However, gratefulness is not a relevant factor in democratic politics, which may be good after all, Pecinka writes.

He says the election strategy of Babis seems clear: Never mind that I got rich mainly thanks to the top politicians, I am against the top politicians, even though I am one of them, because this appeals to the voters.

The performance of the ANO transport ministers was rather poor in the past three years, but there is no need to talk about it because we promise that the journey from Prague to Brno will take only 40 minutes by a high-speed train in 2035, Pecinka writes, referring to Babis’s campaign.

He says this is what common people want to hear, being fed up with politicians like Sobotka who keep explaining why something is not possible.

After the fall of the communist regime in 1989, the largest voter groups in the country were led by Vaclav Klaus’s vision of the economic transformation. The CSSD verbally rejected this vision, but it continued with the transformation concept, only adding a social dimension to it, Pecinka writes.

He says Babis realised this. In the introduction of his book he tries to destroy Klaus’s monument. He also criticised the CSSD election leader Lubomir Zaoralek for helping establish a branch of the umbrella Civic Forum in 1989 as if participation in the revolution against the communist regime was a crime, Pecinka adds.

Babis is presenting the vision of a new revolution against the post-communist politicians and the authorities in general. He hired the best marketing experts to promote this vision, Pecinka writes.

The authors of Babis’s book present the vision in a clear and simple manner. The healthcare programme seems to be the best one among Czech political parties. The problem is that the book sometimes says just the opposite of what Babis has been telling for a long time – for example, the book promotes the existence of several competing health insurance companies, while Babis repeatedly called for the merging of all health insurance company in the state-controlled insurer VZP, Pecinka writes.

Babis is successful because people need hope that all will be well. Other Czech parties do not seem to offer such hope. If Babis scores a landslide victory in the election, it will also be due to their failure, he writes.

Pecinka quotes the phrase coined by the election strategist of U.S. President Bill Clinton: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

But when economy is doing rather well? Then it’s style and vision, stupid, Pecinka says.


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