Eurosceptics close to president to found new right-wing party
Some disaffected Civic Democrats as well as some of the party’s conservative voters – disappointed with the current direction of their party under leader Mirek Topolánek – could soon have new options available on the political right. Figures close to the Czech President, Václav Klaus, made clear earlier that they were planning to found a new party tough on EU integration and tough on the Lisbon treaty – now that will be a reality. On Monday, the 33-year-old economist Petr Mach, a former advisor to Mr Klaus and the head of the conservative think-tank CEP (the Centre for Economics and Politics), announced the founding of the party was “99 percent certain” and just days away.
But what are the chances for such a party peeling away right-wing voters here, from the Civic Democrats - until now the only significant party on the political right? Earlier I spoke to political analyst Jiří Pehe:
“I think that there is definitely room for a new party of this kind because the Civic Democratic Party is suffering from a serious problem: it is a party that is ‘eurosceptical’ on the surface but its voters are not really hostile towards Europe. And I think that if a new party captures such voters, than the Civic Democratic Party will be able to function the way it should.”
And what, in your view, are the chances of a more eurosceptical party attracting broader public attention?
“I am not sure that the founders of this new party are not overestimating the strength of the eurosceptical segment within Czech society. I think that they might attract 5 – 10 percent of the popular vote but only if they are [unusually] successful. On the other hand, they plan on being closely associated with President Vaclav Klaus. Mr Klaus is a very powerful and charismatic political figure and perhaps the most successful of Czech politicians and as such I think he could attract more voters. I think that if this new party does indeed cooperate with Mr Klaus, its chances won’t be slim.”
“On the one hand it would damage the Civic Democrats: it would mean the loss of some deputies and senators, weakening the party overall in Parliament. But in the long run I think it would strengthen them. It would allow them to get rid of their rather schizophrenic approach to the EU and it would probably be run by people more pro-European but conservative at the same time. As such, the party could have a more understandable profile than it has right now.”