Czech/o/Slovak democracy: 30 years in the making
Six months after the election, the Czech Republic is still without a government. And more than two months after the murder of a journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner in Slovakia, there is no reported progress in the investigation – but politics there remains in turmoil. Read more in a comprehensive article on Eurozine here (read an extract posted below).
"On 16 March 2018, in a scene reminiscent of the November 1989 demonstrations that brought down the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, Czechs and Slovaks once more demonstrated side by side against their governments. Although they no longer share a state, the two countries face similar problems: political corruption and a crisis of confidence in political leadership. In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš – under investigation by both the European Union and the Czech police for subsidy fraud – remains unable to form a government backed by parliament six months after his party took 30 percent of the popular vote. The Slovak-born billionaire businessman-turned-politician faces opposition not only for his allegedly corrupt practices and communist past but also for bringing the country’s police inspectorate under his party’s control.
In Slovakia, neither the replacement of the long-standing prime minister, Robert Fico, who had led the country for ten out of the previous twelve years, nor the ensuing resignations of two interior ministers have been able to calm the political crisis that erupted following the murder of a young investigative journalist and his fiancée in late February. Even though the prospect of early elections was temporarily averted by Fico’s resignation in mid-March, the popular protests – the largest in Slovak history – demanding changes to the leadership of police and the public prosecution service continue. In both countries, people openly challenge current political practices and call for ‘decency’ in public conduct. In the political shakedown brought about by another year ending in ‘8’ – which have a habit of being fateful in Czech and Slovak history – links with 1989 abound."