How to fight populists?
🇨🇿🇭🇺🇹🇷 / #43
Today was a good day for democracy in Europe.
Because every democratically induced change of power – like the one in the Czech Republic today – is a sign of functioning democracy. That is especially cheering when democracy takes over from a populist like Andrej Babiš and his centrist ANO (YES) movement.
Today, four weeks after the Czech parliamentary elections, centre-right parties have signed a power-sharing agreement to form a new government.
The coalition will be made of two political alliances:
A three-party, liberal-conservative SPOLU (Together) coalition composed of the Civic Democratic Party, Christian Democrats, and the TOP 09 party (this coalition got a share of 27.8 per cent of the vote), and
A liberal coalition made up of the Pirate Party and STAN (a group of mayors) (they came third with 15.6 per cent of votes).
These two alliances will hold a 108-seat majority in the 200-seat lower house of parliament and aim to form the government with Petr Fiala, a former university rector, as prime minister.
But there is still one obstacle to overcome.
Before Fiala can be elected Prime Minister in Parliament, he must be proposed by President Miloš Zeman. Zeman, who is currently hospitalised, had said that he wanted to reappoint his ally Babiš. But since the offer was refused, he has indicated that he is willing to swear in Fiala as prime minister. No date is set yet.
Czech politic has shown how to defeat a populist ruler.
The amalgamation of large parts of the opposition enabled this (probable) change of power.
Following the same pattern, opposition parties in other European countries are trying to change power.
In Hungary, where National elections will be held next year, Peter Marki-Zay aims to become Victor Orban's successor. Marki-Zay is the top candidate of six political parties ranging from far-right to socialists to environmentalists, all united against Orban and his Fidesz party.
And in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing a vibrant, unified opposition. Erdogan, who has been maintaining power for 18 years, became vulnerable recently since his popularity is sliding in the polls as the economy falters. Inflation is galloping, unemployment rising, the lira sinking. This is a dangerous situation, as Carlotta Gall writes for the New York Times. Erdogan uses foreign politics to burnish his image at home. He pursued military operations in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan and stirred tensions with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean by sending out drilling ships to explore for gas. Recently, he declared ten ambassadors as personas non grata. The situation in Turkey could therefore worsen soon.
So for the moment, let's think about today – and the victory of democracy in the Czech Republic.
What else today:
Europe is the current epicentre of the pandemic. It accounted for 59 per cent of the world's newly reported coronavirus cases last week. Hans Kluge, the W.H.O.'s director for the 53 countries in its European region, said that there were 1.8 million new cases and about 24,000 deaths in the European region in the past week. > New York Times
In Georgia, thousands of protesters have poured into the streets this week. But what are they angry about? Politico has written down "everything you need to know about the political unrest roiling Georgia."
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced to step down next week. His successor: Magdalena Andersson. Andersson is Sweden's Finance Minister, and she was the only candidate for the party chairman job. The 54-year-old economist and former competitive swimmer is set to become the first female PM in Swedish history, provided she wins a vote in parliament, the date for which has not yet been set. > Reuters