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East of the West: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland after the EU election

A supporter of the the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) at a party rally.

By Jirí Málek

[This analysis was presented at the international workshop of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation “On the situation of the left in Europe after the EU elections: New challenges”. Held July 21-23, 2014, in Berlin.]

Transform! Network -- Before me is the task of speaking in a limited time on things that can hardly be responsibly described in brief. For that reason please allow me to make use of a method that could be compared to tossing a flat stone along a flat surface – ever grazing the water, making a couple of little waves and flying off a little more to brush the surface again. With regards to several issues I too will merely brush the surface and rush on to others. And it is likely more questions will arise than answers.

What will I be speaking about? The Karlovy Vary Film Festival has a section called: East of the West. Likewise we will devote this time to the area east of the West, though in the slightly narrower sense of the part of Central Europe otherwise known as the Visegrad Four: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland (total 106 European parliament seats – 14.1 %).

Czech Republic: Elections likely to intensify crisis

Parties elected -- Red: Communist; Orange: ČSSD; Blue: ANO 2011; Purple: TOP 09.

By Jirí Málek

October 29, 2013 -- Transform! -- After a government crisis in summer, early elections were called in the Czech Republic. October 25-26 were the D days. The campaign was relatively short and the program documents were of little interest to the majority.

The campaign was more about persons and political marketing. Polls were showing positive results for the left, but the last two weeks revealed that the situation would be much more complicated and without a clear majority of the left.


Parties elected to parliament:
CSSD (Social democrats): 20.5%, 50 seats (down six)
ANO 2011 (a new political formation): 18.7%, 47 seats
KSCM (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia): 14.9%, 33 seats (up seven)
TOP 09 (until now the ruling right-wing party): 12.0%, 26 seats (down 15)
ODS (until now a dominant right-wing, ruling party): 7.7%, 16 seats (down 37)
USVIT (a new political formation): 6.9%, 14 seats
KDU-CSL (Christian democrats): 6.8%, 14 seats

Czech Republic: 'No' to austerity and 'Yes' to strengthening the left

By Jiri Málek

October 27, 2012 -- via The Bullet --  On October 12-13 , 2012, elections took place in the Czech Republic. The elections were for regional assemblies and one-third of the Senate. Their political impact could have far-reaching results for the whole of society. They signalled a resounding “no” to cost cutting and complete submission to the demands of the world financial sector for a quick restart of neoliberal capitalism.

The regional elections can be characterised as follows:

The Lessons of Prague

By Boris Kagarlitsky

The events of September 2000 in Prague marked a turning point. When the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund planned their annual meeting for the Czech Republic, they hoped for a peaceful gathering in the only eastern European country where hatred of neo-liberalism has not yet become a mass phenomenon. The outcome was that the international bankers were obliged to flee from a city whose streets had become the scene of battles between police and thousands of demonstrators from all parts of Europe. The bankers did not even manage to hold a concluding press conference.

By no means all the participants in the movement against capitalist globalisation, however, interpreted what had happened as a victory. Many were shocked by the violence on the streets, and still more were dismayed by the united attack mounted on the movement by the media.

It is thus essential to draw up a balance sheet of the events and to form conclusions. After Prague, the movement is clearly shifting into a new phase. It is not simply that disagreements have begun appearing among the protesters. The international financial organisations are not standing still either. For them, Prague was a severe defeat, in a certain sense even more serious than the "uprising in Seattle". For this very reason, the "executive committee of the ruling class" will inevitably draw conclusions from what has happened, and will adjust its course.

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