Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Reflex: Election campaign is lacklustre, though much is at stake

ČTK |
29 September 2017

Prague, Sept 27 (CTK) - The Czech voter has not seen such a lacklustre election campaign for a long time, which is in a sharp contract with what is at stake in the forthcoming election to the Chamber of Deputies, Bohumil Pecinka writes in the weekly Reflex on Wednesday.

This state of affairs has both objective and subjective reasons. The former include the fact that under the latest law, election costs cannot exceed 90 million crowns, Pecinka writes.

As a result, party budgets have been lowered two to four times compared with the previous three elections.

In addition, the election promotion was affected by the regulation of billboards near motorways, which has eliminated one of the efficient communication instruments, Pecinka writes.

Election programmes contribute to the lacklustre atmosphere. No voter can easily link a specific programme agenda with a specific party or politician.

To put it shortly, there is a general consensus on four basic programme points and no one strays from this.

These are the pay rises, the rejection of the euro, no to migration from the Middle East and Africa and the usual Czech demand not to increase the national debt too much, Pecinka writes.

There are deviations only in minor affairs. The opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) wants to achieve higher salaries by lower taxation, thanks to which people would keep 7 percent more from their salaries.

By contrast, the Social Democrats (CSSD) want to achieve higher salaries by progressive taxation of the middle classes and subsequent redistribution of the money to the poor.

Andrej Babis' government ANO is offering both options, Pecinka writes.

As a matter of fact, the Czech Republic is facing a dilemma. Either democratic politicians will manage to implement the concept of efficient democracy, or there will be Babis' authoritarian state.

In the economic sphere, there will be the games of the richest bound to the state or a classical ancient oligarchy. In relation to the judiciary, police and the state attorney's office, the method of selective justice and frightening of troublesome people will be made, Pecinka writes.

The state sector will serve to eliminate competition as one can already see in the form of some steps taken by the Financial Administration (FS), he adds, alluding to the FS's use of property freezing orders, which, as critics say, may have served the needs of Babis.

In the past decades, we could see all of these phenomena. At that time, these were defects of the system, Pecinka writes.

However, a twisted system is being built as a basis of economic and political life today, he adds.

With regard to classical democracy, one can hardly find a better description than that the Czech Republic is undergoing a slow, but inexorable march to hell, Pecinka writes.

Some of those "on top" are looking forward to this because this will ensure a better influx of money from state coffers, he adds.

Some of those "below" are looking forward to having access to special cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses where they will be able to report their neighbours who will be suspicious of being better-off, Pecinka writes.

The worst things in history have occurred when there was a political coalition of business moguls and the mob. This is the best definition of "Babisism" as a system that wants to change the direction of the post-Communist democracy.

In such a situation, the lacklustre election campaign is truly perverted, Pecinka writes.

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