[Editor’s note: Yes, Europe is undergoing a major movement to the right, this is an ongoing process that has been underway for at least the last 15 years and has accelerated in recent year like a snowball rolling down a hill – picking up size and momentum. The Czech election result follows on the heels of an Austrian election that saw a nationalist right wing victory. The swing to the right has not necessarily manifested itself so clearly in the poll results in other countries, with the French and German elections of 2016 not producing the expected swing to the right or rather, the swing to the right occurred, but it was not as large as had been predicted. However, among the people of Europe there is a clear and unmistakable groundswell of support for right-wing, nationalist sentiments and the factors driving this are fairly obvious – the migrant issue, the failure of the EU as an economic and political project, the mass unemployment caused by the financial downturn after the 2007 financial crisis. In short, the people are increasingly discontented and are looking for a new direction politically; that direction is to the right as it is new to them, new because right wing nationalist politics has largely been highly marginalised in Europe since 1945. Ian]
Russian Institute of Strategic Studies
Election results to the Czech parliament brought a lot of surprises
“Elections in the Czech Republic on 20 and 21 October once again reaffirmed the general European trend: the ideological movement of the electorate to the right, the loss of influence of the social-democratic parties, and the rise of populism in the wake of the migration crisis,” RISS expert Oksana Petrovskaya noted. The main beneficiary of these parliamentary elections became the leader of the ANO movement, the future Prime Minister Andrew Babish, notable for his similarities with the current American President.
“Election results to the Czech parliament brought a lot of surprises,” added RISS expert. As it was expected, the center-right party Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO) gained 29,64% of the vote and won the victory. ANO essentially put an end to the 25-year-old domination of right and left coalitions in October 2017. The rest of the parties that gained more than 5% of the votes and entered the Parliament left behind the ANO. The following three parties, the Civil Democratic Party (ODS), the Pirate Party (Piráti), and the Party of Direct Democracy (SPD) gained approximately the same number of votes – 10-11%.
For the ruling Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) it is the lowest result since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993. The Social Democrats headed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka were unable to use neither the administrative resources nor the success of socio-economic development of the country over the past four years.
The main points in the election campaign in the Czech Republic were security, refugees, and migrants, so the defeat of the Social Democrats is a European trend. After the elections in Austria and Germany the Social Democrats began to rule in only 7 of the 28 European States (in 2000 they ruled in 15 countries). After joining the EU in 2004 the Czech Republic has made visible steps towards economic progress. However, 2/3 of Czechs believe that EU membership has brought more harm than profit.
Foreign policy of the Czech Republic will largely depend on the structure of the ruling party. In his first victory speech Babish assured the voters of the commitment to the European Union and NATO, but declared that the Czech Republic wanted to play an active role in the shaping of the European policy. In an interview with Reuters Babish said that the Visegrad group would have to find new allies among Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and other Balkan countries. The Czech Republic together with Austria and Hungary could initiate the abolition of EU sanctions against Russia.