February 21, 2009
The new Czech right-oriented party, the Free Citizen’s Party (SSO), rejects the Lisbon treaty and it will seek a referendum on the Czech adoption of the euro, Petr Mach, told SSO´s initiator in a press conference. Mach, executive director of the Czech Centre for Economics and Politics (CEP) and a close aide to President Vaclav Klaus, also confirmed that he wants to cooperate with the movement Libertas of Irish Lisbon treaty opponent Declan Ganley in preparations of the European Parliament (EP) elections scheduled for June.
The new party effectively splits the major right-wing party, ODS behind the struggling minority government that also have to cope with the Czech EU presidency. Among ODS deputies, the infamously obstructive president, Mr Klaus has given advice and an heir-apparent, his own son to the new party.
Besides co-operating with Libertas, that may launch a separate party in the Czech Republic, the SSO wants to promote low taxes, reduction of bureaucracy, clean environment “without any extremist ideology,” the development of nuclear energy industry and the stopping of the biofuel production at the cost of food.
This type of right-wing politics is very puzzling to me. It mixes the American libertarian politics with its distrust for the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, man-made climate change and the British type of Euroscepticism, which is pro-NATO but anti-EU. The US or the UK isolationist can probably claim that their country could survive without international affairs, although this is also a very naive point of view, but in a country which is in the middle the EU, a neighbor of Germany, used to live in a common polity with another EU member state in much of the 20th century and even more before it. I can hardly imagine a European country more in need for the EU and more integrated with the European economy and polity.
Anyway, I think that in the long run the evolution of this new party will make the Czech Republic more governable. The Czech Republic had to live with a strong left-right division with a number of small parties, many minority and car-taking governments, and a major right-wing party that was had to struggle inside with the question of the EU. I believe that SSO will remain a relatively strong but still fringe-party, and will let ODS seek more pragmatic coalitions. It will effectively marginalize this kind of political thought as it will be substracted from the major right-wing party, and probably help to marginalize Mr Klaus, too.