published: 17.09.2013, 17:00 | updated: 17.09.2013 17:48:28
Prague - The Czech Republic is an exhausted democracy in which the political and party systems have started to disintegrate, French political scientist Jacques Rupnik, who takes part in the Forum 2000 conference, told CTK today.
The rather disturbing phenomenon of a "tired" or "weary" democracy can be seen in the Czech Republic before the general election, Rupnik said.
The feeling of exhaustion results also from the emptiness of politics and from people being disgusted by the interconnections between politics and business, parties and the state, he added.
Rupnik said there have traditionally been two main political powers in the Czech Republic, the Civic Democrats (ODS) and the Social Democrats (CSSD), around whom both the topics of the campaign and the discussion about possible post-election coalitions were organised.
But now the right-wing pillar has collapsed as the ODS lost a big part of its supporters, being expected to win even less than 10 percent of the vote by some, and the left-wing pillar has been weakened by President Milos Zeman and his followers both inside and outside the CSSD, Rupnik said.
The collapse of the two pillars creates space for President Zeman to become a stronger player, and also for new "political entrepreneurs," he said.
The quick formation of a number of new political groupings is similar to the Public Affairs (VV) of controversial businessman Vit Barta that entered parliament after the 2010 election, but then split and does not run independently in the forthcoming autumn election, Rupnik said.
Even some small parties face disintegration which is alarming because it will be very hard to stabilise the system after the election, he said, mentioning the Greens from which the Liberal Environmental Party (LES) of Martin Bursik splintered off.
Rupnik said he does not consider it anything extraordinary that the head of state is linked to one of the political groupings, the Party of Citizens´ Rights - the Zemanites (SPOZ).
But he said a Czech "oddity" is that the Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynar is directly involved in the political process.
Mynar, former SPOZ chairman, is running for the party as one of its regional election leaders.
Mynar said he agreed with Zeman that he would keep his post of Presidential Office head and leave it only if he is elected.
Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Bohuslav Sobotka criticised the fact that a high state official is running in the election. TOP 09 chairman Karel Schwarzenberg presented the same view.
This year's 17th Forum 2000, a conference established by late Czech president Vaclav Havel, focuses on societies in transition.
Rupnik, 62, is a political scientist and historian focusing on Central and East European studies, among others. In the early 1990s he was an aide to president Havel. He teaches at the Sciences Po political institute in Paris.
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