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Commentary by Pavel Bělobrádek for iHned.cz

Added 12/6/2018
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ihned.cz

Pears and apples do not make plums together. There are some voices saying that KDU-ČSL rejected the offer of the Mayors and TOP 09 to jointly stand for the European Parliament elections. Instead of the opposition getting together and acting united, it falls apart and is unable to agree on anything. However, some interpretations are inaccurate, and others are completely manipulative. How it really is with the so-called inability of KDU-ČSL to agree with others, you can read here. The decision to have separate candidates for the European Parliament election was based on 4 serious reasons:

1) The first and most serious is the respect (not only) to our voters and the diversity of views in parliamentary democracy. KDU-ČSL, TOP 09 and STAN represent different value bases and each of these parties is attractive to a different group of voters. KDU-ČSL is the only conservative, pro-European political party in the Czech Republic. STAN and TOP 09 are not conservative. In the European Parliament, members of STAN and TOP 09 vote on key issues differently- each of us represents preferences and values of different voters. Also, the abroad experience shows us that, for example, there are three parties in the European People’s Party in Slovakia (KDH, SMK, Most-Híd), two in Poland (Civic Platform, Polish People’s Party), two in Belgium (Christian Democratic and Flemish, The Humanist Democratic Centre) and so on, and they do not stand together for the European Parliament elections. Pluralism of votes and values is absolutely vital for democracy.

2) Although the parties from the outside may seem similar, all surveys from the beginning of 2017 have agreed on that the liberal voters often refuse to vote for a coalition with the KDU-ČSL, and conservative voters, on the other hand, do not like the coalition with STAN. Liberal and conservative values are simply incompatible. As a result, such a coalition will only lose a large part of its supporters, for whom such a coalition is not a choice. Pears and apples do not make plums together. Moreover, it is not a secret that some party figures are not acceptable to the voters of the other party. For us in the KDU-ČSL it is Miroslav Kalousek, on the other hand, Jiří Čunek, for the TOP 09 or STAN voters.

3) It makes sense to always get together FOR something, not against something. And especially in the case of parties that are ideologically similar and have the same or at least similar electorate. For all voters disappointed with TOP 09 or STAN, KDU-ČSL is a relevant and meaningful alternative. This also applies on the elections to the European Parliament.

4) The argument that the joint candidate would strengthen the opposition is only a great wish. It would not. If we wanted to achieve at least the same result in the European elections next year as we did the last time, we would have to get at least 25 % together, which is extremely unrealistic given the current development. I really am sorry that KDU-ČSL is blamed for their unwillingness to cooperate and for breaking down the democratic forces in this country. If TOP 09 did not break away from KDU-ČSL in 2009 and STAN in 2016 (!) from TOP 09 because of “building our own brand”, we would not have to complain about disintegration today.

Published HERE
 

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