CZECH ELECTIONS ANOTHER BLOW TO EU




Robert Harneis –TDO-(FRANCE) The victory in the Czech elections went to the Ano movement (Action of Dissatisfied Citizens, an acronym which also means "Yes" in Czech), which received 29.64 percent of the vote, almost 20 points ahead of the second party, the right-wing ODS (11.32%). Ano was only founded in 2013.

The result is a severe blow to EU ideas of a United States of Europe particularly as the Czech Republic is a country where economic growth is solid, unemployment and inequality were among the lowest in the Europe, and wages are rising. The 2015 surge of illegal immigration encouraged by German leader Angela Merkel is a major factor in the result as are doubts about the wisdom of joining the Euro and widespread anti-corruption feelings.

The party’s leader and the country’s second richest man Andrej Babis, is a former Deputy Prime Minister. He has been called the Czech Trump.

Although he was until last year deputy prime minister and finance minister, he has succeeded in portraying himself as an outsider fighting a corrupt system of traditional parties. He says he wants to run the country as successfully as he has his business empire - which runs from chemicals and agriculture to media.

During the run-up to the election, he constantly criticised the EU and ruled out giving Brussels any new powers. He also said that the euro was bankrupt. He wants the EU to concentrate on stopping migrants and has repeatedly said he did not want to accept any refugees at all.

However once elected he has immediately softened his line saying that in certain circumstances he might be in favor of joining the Euro. Never the less it will be difficult for him to do a complete U-turn and lead the country into any new more centralized EU, bearing in mind that although his victory has been described as a landslide, his party only achieved 30% of the votes.

The emphasis of future policy will greatly depend on the partners with which he is able to form a coalition government.

The Czech elections, where anti-establishment parties just won an overall majority, was a similar result to the recent elections in neighboring Austria.