The Czech Populist Cycle Is Set To Repeat

Czechia's democracy is likely to relapse instead of form a new chapter.

19 October 2021

Albin Sybera

Visegrad Insight Fellow

With the defeat of Andrej Babiš’ ANO at the elections, it remains to be seen if SPOLU has changed since 2013 or if it will once again repeat their old mistakes which led to the rise of ANO in the first place.

This is part two of a two-part series on Czech elections — read part one here.

Elections Under Attack From Disinformation

As has been already noted in the previous part, environmental issues have been marginalised by all but one party which played a crucial role in the election — the Pirate Party. With merely four deputies, the election campaign can still be described as being about the clash between the Pirate Party and the ‘oligarchic’ state personified by Andrej Babiš. Moreover, the likes of Daniel Křetínský, Pavel Tykač or other PPF managers of the late Petr Kellner might have realised that their profiles fit the picture of the oligarchic structures which were criticised by the Pirate Party in the past. 

Unlike the right-wing SPOLU formation, the Pirate Party was also more vocal in tackling social issues and while far from the contemporary left-wing liberal political parties seen west of Czechia, the Pirates were subjected to a smear campaign describing them as Marxist radicals. An anti-campaign of an extraordinary scale was primarily launched against the Pirates by ANO and Andrej Babiš, but occasionally band wagoned by ODS politicians too and even local Mayoral candidates encouraging their voters to circle out Pirate candidates from the joint list. 

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Albin Sybera

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Albin is a freelance journalist, consultant and a former clerk at the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic. Besides Visegrad Insight, his texts can be also found at Britske listy or Balkan Insight.

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