Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Právo: SPD, Pirates struggle for votes, have chance in polls

ČTK |
6 October 2017

Prague, Oct 5 (CTK) - The Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and the Czech Pirate Party (CPS), both addressing critics of mainstream parties, might succeed in the forthcoming general election, the SPD being mainly backed by protest voters and the CPS by young first-time voters, Jan Martinek says in Pravo on Thursday.

Latest opinion polls indicate that both the minor opposition SPD and the extra-parliamentary CPS might cross the 5-percent threshold and gain up to 7 percent of the vote each in the October 20-21 election.

To attract voters, the two parties vow to enhance direct democracy, referendums and a tougher supervision of judges. Both criticise corruption on the part of mainstream parties, Martinek writes.

That is also why a sharp battle between the SPD and the CPS has been underway on social networks, with SPD leader Tomio Okamura rebuking the Pirates for supporting the EU and the acceptance of migrants, something the SPD categorically rejects, Martinek writes.

"The Pirate party openly supports Czech acceptance of Muslim, Arab and African migrants, and it also supports the European Union - this is publicly known but surprisingly, many people do not know this," Okamura has written.

Calling his words manipulative, the CPS asked its voters to politely explain the SPD fans that the departure from the EU would be disadvantageous for the Czechs.

"As far as migrant policy is concerned, the Pirates are no welcomers," wrote the CPS, which rejects migrant relocation quotas but wants asylum to be granted to war and political refugees.

Unlike it, the SPD is opposed to the acceptance of migrants and wants Islam to be banned in the Czech Republic, Martinek writes.

He quotes sociologist Jan Herzmann as saying that the SPD and the CPS are fighting for the same kind of voters.

"They focus on the people who would not support mainstream parties, including the [most popular] ANO movement. The group that hesitates whether to prefer the CPS or the SPD is quite small, making up one or two percent of all potential voters. However, each single percentage point is vital for parties with preferences oscillating around 6 percent," Herzmann told the daily.

He said the two parties' core groups of supporters profoundly differ from each other.

"The SPD has been preferred by traditionalists whose positions are based on national awareness rooted in the 19th century, while the CPS's fans are eyeing modernism and globalisation," Herzmann said.

If they enter parliament, both the SPD and the CPS will head for opposition, he said.

"The Pirates stick to principles. They previously declined an offer to join the city government in Prague. A coalition including Okamura would probably be shunned by all parties," Herzmann said.

Daniel Prokop, from the Median polling agency, too, said the SPD and the CPS's common denominator is their anti-system drive.

"Another thing they have in common is that both tend to be supported by younger voters," Prokop told Pravo.

The Pirates' disadvantage is their lacking clear positions on selected issues such as foreign policy, said Prokop, who expects both the SPD and the CPS enter the Chamber of Deputies in the forthcoming election.

Unlike him, CVVM agency's analyst Jan Cervenka said he does not consider the SPD and the CPS's electorate close to each other.

"The SPD is mainly supported by the people who feel annoyed, dissatisfied and critical of current developments, even more critical than those who support the Communist Party. The SPD collects protest votes, while the Pirates have been mainly supported by first-time voters and young people under 30," Cervenka said.

He said the speculation about the SPD fighting for voters with the Communists is untrue.

"The SPD tends to be supported by those who did not take part in elections before. I do not think all of them are fans of Okamura. They simply cast protest votes," Cervenka added.

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