Czech Republic

Strong showing for communists in regional elections

Published on 15 October 2012 at 13:59


This weekend’s regional elections were marked by a spectacular surge in support for communists of the KSČM, who obtained 20% of the vote nationwide — a record unequalled since the fall of communism in 1989. Hospodářské noviny reports that for the first time in its history, the social-democrats of the ČSSD party, which polled 24%, are considering breaking a taboo by forming a coalition with the communists, who continue to be inspired by the Soviet Union. In the Prague daily, which sports a Soviet poster on its front page, Igor Lukeš, a political analyst from the University of Boston, explains

… the communists held onto power with executions [in the 1950s]. Nonetheless, the Czechs are still voting for them today. That’s quite unique.

According to the newspaper, the current situation could bring about the fall of the right-wing government: Prime Minister Petr Nečas’ austerity policy is unpopular, while the many corruption investigations, which he himself encouraged, are threatening his government’s stability. In this context, adds Lukeš —

… people are ready to plumb new depths in their quest for solutions. Speaking from a moral standpoint, we have hit a new low with these votes for the communists.

In neighbouring Austria,Der Standard remarks that the Czechs are suffering from “mass amnesia” —

There is no better proof of the fleeting nature of human memory… Un-reformed Czech communists, who refuse to clearly distance themselves from their Stalinist past, have become established everywhere as a serious political force.

At the same time, another Czech issue has been shrouded by amnesia: it’s the problem of corruption explains the Viennese daily, which is aghast at the support for Jirí Dolejš, a communist who was caught negotiating a bribe a few years ago, but nonetheless won a seat in a concurrent by-election for the country’s Senate.

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