Czech Political Turmoil

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Populism coupled with a vendetta, 9 Aug.

by Martin Ehl

Twenty years after the Czech Republic became politically independent, comprehensive structural changes to the political system are taking place. The vote of no confidence against the cabinet of Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok, a protégé of President Miloš Zeman, and early elections [at the end of October] are only the start of fundamental changes in Czech politics.

The most likely outcome of the most recent developments will be the elimination of the two largest parties, which have dominated the Czech political landscape for the last 20 years: the Democratic People’s Party (ODS) and the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD). In the meantime, space has been created for several new, mostly populist parties and movements.

But at least in the next few years, if not a whole decade, the supreme populist President Miloš Zeman will set the tone […]. We may also expect that left-wing populism will be around for a while, underpinned by the personal vendetta of the Czech President, some of his team members, and the government, which he helped create. […]

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