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Author Topic: Czech Politics and Elections  (Read 3967 times)
DavidB.
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« on: January 28, 2018, 09:02:38 am »

We have threads for the parliamentary election that took place in October and for the recent presidential election, but up to now we did not have a general discussion thread for this country. I think Czech politics are going to get quite interesting, so I decided to create one.

ANO leader Babis still needs to form a coalition that has the support of 101 out of 200 MPs, which President Zeman views as a prerequisite for forming a government. Tomio Okamura, leader of the far-right SPD, was a prominent guest at Zeman's celebration party yesterday, and while Babis has sought to avoid including Okamura's party in his coalition in order to remain credible within the EU, it may be that Zeman will insist on the inclusion of the SPD in the government.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 09:05:10 am by DavidB. »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2018, 10:25:27 am »

We basically seem to be waiting for Babis' decision about which path to choose. Does he want to insist on becoming PM himself, and thereby limiting his possibility for a majority to Communists and SPD, or will he accept the Polish solution with another person as PM which will likely open for coalition options with either ODS or his previous coaliton partners (CSSD and KDU-CSL). If he chooses the first option, he will likely be chastised by EU partners and forced into a much more eurosceptic position than he prefers as well as building on an unstable SPD whose predecessor quickly fell apart during the last term. Furthermore, SPD has all kinds of demands for referenda, which he needs to curb in the right ways to avoid it hurting his power as PM too much. If he chooses the second option, it will be a personal humilation (and some might say, limit his possibilities to gain financially personally). However, it will likely allow him a quite stable majority with policy agreements, he seemed perfectly fine with as Finance Minister.

There is of course the possibility that one or more of the mainstream parties budge and accept Babis as PM, which is what he seems to have hoped for so far. However, this hasn't looked likely so far. Fiala seems to be certain in the saddle in ODS after a decent general election, and no hint of a sudden Klaus Jr. take-over. CSSD will choose a new leadership in February, but I doubt it would be popular internally to run on cooperation with Babis. 
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Bojicat
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2018, 04:14:19 pm »

My (sort of obvious) standard for judging the outcome of any national question or contest is to sense the mood of the country. And the mood-flow in Czechia since October has been Babis, Okamura, pro-immigrant curtailment, anti-Brussels, anti-establishment, and, it should have been figured out from the start, pro-ZEMAN.

The Czech presidential polls, some we now see in retrospect (a la Brexit, Trump victory, and a number of Senators, Governors and Congressmen in the US), were very wrong, some tinged with must-get-Zeman-out-at-all-costs bias, and rather 'see-through' going about it at that.

My prediction then: Babis will get his majority government. His popularity will grow and he'll be PM for a couple of terms. He'll bring in Okamura and work out a deal with Fiala, and a few of the smaller parties (Mayors and Independents? TOP09?). What'll be left in opposition will be the Pirates and the Communists (and a rather de minimus CSSD). That's not much of an opposition Babis will face the second go around.

Czechia will be rather boring for awhile. Best to wash your hands, shrug and have done with it.
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2018, 04:34:04 pm »

Zero percent chance he'll bring TOP09 in government; they represent exactly the opposite of the populist message Babis wants.
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rob in cal
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2018, 05:21:08 pm »

  Would Okamura insist, as a price to support Babis, on some referenda to be held on different issues since his party is a direct democracy supporting party?
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Bojicat
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 06:03:18 pm »

  Would Okamura insist, as a price to support Babis, on some referenda to be held on different issues since his party is a direct democracy supporting party?
 
I think it'll be a half-hearted insistence, if Okamura goes on insisting on anything national, like referenda. Indeed, Okamura should bless his lucky stars if Babis invites him in at all, and keep blessing them.

What he will negotiate are cabinet portfolios. Minister of Defense? Minister of Justice? Minister of the Interior? Maybe a few of his people spread about in various councils? Ambassadorships?

Same goes for Fiala, et al. They'll all mostly fall in. There's not much in the alternative (stay out in the wilderness, powerless, maybe for a decade or more?).

Fun work, negotiating coalition governments.
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DavidB.
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2018, 02:08:13 am »

The Czech presidential polls, some we now see in retrospect (a la Brexit, Trump victory, and a number of Senators, Governors and Congressmen in the US), were very wrong, some tinged with must-get-Zeman-out-at-all-costs bias, and rather 'see-through' going about it at that.
I don't think they were wrong. It was always going to be a close race; in the last stage of the campaign, Zeman successfully managed to paint Drahos as a liberal/someone whose agenda was not in the Czech interest/someone who remained silent about his real agenda (e.g. the dumb comment about migrant quotas being "manageable"), which swung public opinion by a few points and managed to get his base out to vote, enough for him to win.
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Bojicat
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2018, 09:49:53 am »

The Czech presidential polls, some we now see in retrospect (a la Brexit, Trump victory, and a number of Senators, Governors and Congressmen in the US), were very wrong, some tinged with must-get-Zeman-out-at-all-costs bias, and rather 'see-through' going about it at that.
I don't think they were wrong. It was always going to be a close race; in the last stage of the campaign, Zeman successfully managed to paint Drahos as a liberal/someone whose agenda was not in the Czech interest/someone who remained silent about his real agenda (e.g. the dumb comment about migrant quotas being "manageable"), which swung public opinion by a few points and managed to get his base out to vote, enough for him to win.

Thanks, DavidB (and also thanks for hosting this Forum, fun topic).

Though polling is never scientific, more often than not, the trends they indicate are often correct.
However in this case, DavidB, every poll in the run-up to the run-off, and I mean EVERY poll, stated that DRAHOS was ahead. Some pollsters and prognosticators (now tarnished, as far as many are concerned) would exhort that DRAHOS' lead was even more dramatic than these polls revealed, that DRAHOS would, in fact, take regions in the country thought to be safe for ZEMAN, the public was just that much disgusted with ZEMAN. Many fell for/went along with that line.

Forum participants, and writers from other sites I comment in, would decry my view that these polls are unreliable, that the Czechia mood would actually lift ZEMAN to victory in the end. These decriers (here too), would insist, sometimes vehemently and nastily, that ZEMAN will lose, "be creamed" (one quote) because "every single poll, EVERY SINGLE POLL, shows Drahos smashing Zeman" (another quote). "Look at the polls," I'd hear incessantly.

These very wrong polls led these very bull-headed people like the Pied Piper.

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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 10:34:37 am »

The Czech presidential polls, some we now see in retrospect (a la Brexit, Trump victory, and a number of Senators, Governors and Congressmen in the US), were very wrong, some tinged with must-get-Zeman-out-at-all-costs bias, and rather 'see-through' going about it at that.
I don't think they were wrong. It was always going to be a close race; in the last stage of the campaign, Zeman successfully managed to paint Drahos as a liberal/someone whose agenda was not in the Czech interest/someone who remained silent about his real agenda (e.g. the dumb comment about migrant quotas being "manageable"), which swung public opinion by a few points and managed to get his base out to vote, enough for him to win.

Thanks, DavidB (and also thanks for hosting this Forum, fun topic).

Though polling is never scientific, more often than not, the trends they indicate are often correct.
However in this case, DavidB, every poll in the run-up to the run-off, and I mean EVERY poll, stated that DRAHOS was ahead. Some pollsters and prognosticators (now tarnished, as far as many are concerned) would exhort that DRAHOS' lead was even more dramatic than these polls revealed, that DRAHOS would, in fact, take regions in the country thought to be safe for ZEMAN, the public was just that much disgusted with ZEMAN. Many fell for/went along with that line.

Forum participants, and writers from other sites I comment in, would decry my view that these polls are unreliable, that the Czechia mood would actually lift ZEMAN to victory in the end. These decriers (here too), would insist, sometimes vehemently and nastily, that ZEMAN will lose, "be creamed" (one quote) because "every single poll, EVERY SINGLE POLL, shows Drahos smashing Zeman" (another quote). "Look at the polls," I'd hear incessantly.

These very wrong polls led these very bull-headed people like the Pied Piper.





You must be fun at parties. I am not sure what do you mean that polls were wrong but as far as I remember most of the polls were showing either small dominance of Zeman or small dominance of Drahos. There is also always statistical error and never dominance of any candidate was greater than 3-4%. Polls were not wrong, people just don't know how to read them and thinks that they are showing exact result as it will be.
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 10:59:18 am »

Yes, this is Brexit disease all over again - somehow an election where the polling consensus was largely "narrow Leave victory, with a small rally for Remain towards the end helped by a randomly high Populus score" got converted into "POLLING INDUSTRY STUMPED AGAIN???" Not that pollsters aren't lousy, especially in countries like Czechia; but I feel their shoddiness reflects more unreliability than bias.
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Diouf
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 11:45:15 am »

Babis has stated that his first attempt in the second round will be a majority with Social Democrats and Communists. However, he will await the Social Democrat congress on February 18th, where they will choose a new leader. Babis has been quite scornful of acting CSSD leader Milan Chovanec, who is running, so he is hoping for one of the other candidates to win. Chovanec is a hardliner on migration in the CSSD, but is unpopular with Babis due to his insistence on not supporting a cabinet headed by a prosecuted prime minister as well as claiming ANO shouldn't lead justice, interior and finance ministries due to the same allegations. It is hard to gauge the exact mood in the CSSD, but it is clear that at least a significant minority would be very upset if the party supports Babis as PM, and basically all relevant figures have rejected it in public so far. The upside is that they would have a decent chance of ensuring that the cabinet will continue the same broad Social Democrat economic policies as the Sobotka cabinet. With so many small parties in parliament, it could perhaps also be preferable attentionwise to participate in the governing majority rather than being one of many opposition parties.

Babis makes clear that he would prefer the Communists ahead of SPD because, as I hinted at in the previous thread, they are "more stable party" than SPD as Okamura tend to join up with disloyal lunatics. Furthermore, Babis rejects Okamura's too radical referenda demands and his Euroscepticism: "We can make a law on referenda, sure why not, but it should have at least a 800 thousand quorum, not the 100 thousand Okamura wants. And there is certainly no debate about leaving the EU. Right now, two megafirms approach me and are saying - there's Brexit, we are in London, but we leave the UK and we might want to have our headquarters in your country. So we have to explain to people that membership in the European Union is important, but that the Member States should have the fundamental say, not the European Commission. We must also explain to people - look, England is leaving and many companies will go away from there."

https://zpravy.idnes.cz/rozhovor-premier-andrej-babis-vztahy-se-zemanem-vlada-pfh-/domaci.aspx?c=A180128_113802_domaci_kop
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-czech-government/czech-pm-babis-says-would-prefer-to-ally-with-social-democrats-communists-media-idUSKBN1FI0QN
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 12:54:17 pm by Diouf »Logged

DavidB.
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 12:44:34 pm »

CSSD looking westward and singing: "Anything you can do, I can do better." Utter lunacy and a recipe for further destruction. ODS made a fine recovery in the opposition after a total collapse, and I do not see why CSSD, of all parties, should want to lend a helping hand to ANO after everything that happened last year. Let them try it with the Commies and the SPD.
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 01:15:24 pm »

CSSD looking westward and singing: "Anything you can do, I can do better." Utter lunacy and a recipe for further destruction. ODS made a fine recovery in the opposition after a total collapse, and I do not see why CSSD, of all parties, should want to lend a helping hand to ANO after everything that happened last year. Let them try it with the Commies and the SPD.

That would be quite the coalition
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 02:03:17 pm »

What coalition do any of you suspect Babis will be successful in coddling together?

I see him adding the ODS, the SPD, maybe KDU.
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DavidB.
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2018, 03:00:25 am »

What coalition do any of you suspect Babis will be successful in coddling together?

I see him adding the ODS, the SPD, maybe KDU.
Three paths to a majority that don't seem to be completely impossible (but they may well turn out to be):
- ODS
- CSSD + KSCM
- SPD + KSCM
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2018, 04:14:57 am »

Have KDU ruled out support? Those sort of parties normally provide useful coalition fodder.
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DavidB.
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2018, 06:56:56 am »

Have KDU ruled out support? Those sort of parties normally provide useful coalition fodder.
True, continuation of the ANO+CSSD+KDU/CSL coalition would also an option; however, I still refuse to believe CSSD will actually enter a coalition with ANO again. In an option with ODS, KDU-CSL is not necessary. I really doubt whether KDU-CSL would want to enter a coalition with either the SPD or the Communists.
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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2018, 09:53:53 am »

As far as I remember EPP parties ruled out cooperation with Babis, at least as long he have some shady law problems.
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2018, 11:52:47 am »

Have KDU ruled out support? Those sort of parties normally provide useful coalition fodder.
True, continuation of the ANO+CSSD+KDU/CSL coalition would also an option; however, I still refuse to believe CSSD will actually enter a coalition with ANO again. In an option with ODS, KDU-CSL is not necessary. I really doubt whether KDU-CSL would want to enter a coalition with either the SPD or the Communists.

I agree. I just wonder, though, what other options the KDU or the CSSD have? An ANO-led majority government is in the cards, I think inevitable. Would the KDU and CSSD rather sit this out, in opposition, powerless and obscure, perhaps for a decade? The public will NOT rush into their arms should Babis falter. What would the KDU, CSSD then do during this period in Siberia?  Sit cold and lonely in the galleries? Join forces with the Communists? With the Pirate Party? Fat chance.

They're far better off joining in a the coalition government.
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2018, 12:25:24 pm »

Actually I'd say CSSD and KDU should just completely oppose ANO and force him to go with the SPD and the commies.

Once that sh**tshow government fails spectacularly they will grow again.
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2018, 02:22:17 pm »

Actually I'd say CSSD and KDU should just completely oppose ANO and force him to go with the SPD and the commies.

Once that sh**tshow government fails spectacularly they will grow again.

Why? The Czech system seems to throw up new parties all the time. Three of the top four parties at the moment are "new".
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2018, 03:38:46 pm »

Oh, come on, Bojicat, this falls squarely under Nate Silver's First Rule of Polling Errors: the polling error usually occurs in the opposite direction from what the media expects.

Brexit:
Polls show narrow Remain
Media expects wide Remain
Result: narrow Leave

US presidential 2016:
Polls show narrow Clinton
Media expects wide Clinton
Result: narrow Trump

France 2017:
Polls show very wide Macron
Media expects a close race
Result: even wider Macron

Virginia Governor 2017:
Polls show narrow Northam
Media expects an extremely close race
Result: Comfortable Northam

Similarly, Czechia Presidential 2018:
Polls show tossup/narrow Drahos
Media expects comfortable Drahos
Result: narrow Zeman

In all cases, it wasn't that the polling was widely off; the error was small. It was the media interpretation that was way off.
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2018, 05:05:57 pm »

Before the second round, when polls were no longer allowed, bookmakers changed from favouring Drahos narrowly to favouring Zeman narrowly. So in all likelyhood, had polls been allowed, they would have shown the same movement and shown Zeman narrowly ahead.

http://praguemonitor.com/2018/01/26/bookmakers-see-zeman-presidential-runoffs-favourite
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Bojicat
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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2018, 05:59:04 pm »

Oh, come on, Bojicat, this falls squarely under Nate Silver's First Rule of Polling Errors: the polling error usually occurs in the opposite direction from what the media expects.

Brexit:
Polls show narrow Remain
Media expects wide Remain
Result: narrow Leave

US presidential 2016:
Polls show narrow Clinton
Media expects wide Clinton
Result: narrow Trump

France 2017:
Polls show very wide Macron
Media expects a close race
Result: even wider Macron

Virginia Governor 2017:
Polls show narrow Northam
Media expects an extremely close race
Result: Comfortable Northam

Similarly, Czechia Presidential 2018:
Polls show tossup/narrow Drahos
Media expects comfortable Drahos
Result: narrow Zeman

In all cases, it wasn't that the polling was widely off; the error was small. It was the media interpretation that was way off.

Good bird's-eye view, so to speak, EAGLES.
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« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2018, 10:44:23 am »

The media usually predicts the opposite of what will happen (within reason) to create conflict and actually have something to report on.
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