By Saeed Sobhani

Populists maneuver in Prague

November 4, 2017

TEHRAN _ While EU officials were shocked by the victory of the "Freedom" party in Austria and its acceding to the coalition government, the populists' victory in Prague added up to the failure of traditional politicians in Europe.

What is happening today in Prague is a complete tragedy for the United Europe. The EU has now entered a stage that has to accept the presence of anti-United Europe populists in power.

Who is the Czech Republic's Trump?

An overview of the recent election results in the Czech Republic shows how far the country has been facing the crisis.

Andrej Babis, 63, is the current Finance Minister, and the second richest man in the Czech Republic. He is also the leader of the ANO populist party (Ano means yes) , who had chanted nationalist and anti-EU slogans during the campaign, and won at least 30 percent of the vote in Czech Republic's general election in this way. In other words, we are already witnessing another anti-United Europe person finding his way into the political and executive equations of one of the member states of this collection. The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union.

Undoubtedly, the recent elections in the Czech Republic and its results was a tough shock for the European authorities. The rate of people participation in this round of general election in the Czech Republic was announced 60%. Because of Andrej Babis similarity to the U.S. President, the global media called him "Czech's Trump". Babis wealth is estimated about $ 4 billion, and thus he is considered the second richest man in the Czech Republic. His promises to Czech citizens were also like those Trump gave to Americans during the U.S. presidential campaigns. In the Czech presidential elections held in 2013, which was only a year from the founding of his party, Babis won the second place among the parliament parties and was present at the coalition government led by the Social Democrats and became the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic.

The results of the Czech Republic election terminated the victory of the quarter-century long of Social Democrats in the Czech political arena, and the Social Democrats were standing at the sixth level with only 7% of the vote.  They were even behind the Communist Party in this election. Another worrying consequence of the Czech Republic election is the great number of votes for the right party of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD).  The far-right party, won the third place in the Czech Republic election with nearly 11% of the vote, doubling its votes compared to the previous election.

In recent weeks and following the holding of three national elections in Europe, right-wing extremist, nationalist and anti-United Europe currents have been able to make a spectacular show. In Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AFD), which is affiliated with the right-wing extremism, was able to become the third strongest party in the country and find way to the parliament. In Austria, the Freedom Party could become the second most powerful party in the country and appear in the coalition government (consisted of the People's Party and the Freedom Party). Now in the Czech Republic, nationalists have been able to surpass the other parties and win the elections.

Most importantly, current crises in the European Union will intensify over the coming years, and surveys conducted in the European Union and the Eurozone indicate the turning of high percentage of citizens to nationalist groups. This is despite the fact that traditional groups and parties in Europe, such as Social Democrats and Conservatives, are in the worst possible conditions. Right now, extremists and nationalists in Europe have taken up the 28 strong European countries.

 Undoubtedly, the recent victory of nationalists in the Czech Republic general election will not be the last triumph of the nationalist and rightist movements in the European Union.Many European leaders are worried about the hundreds of right-wing radicals coming into power in the upcoming European Parliamentary elections. During the European Parliamentary elections in 2014, we saw the acceding of a large number of nationalists and right extremists to the European Parliament in Brussels. This victory may be repeated more strongly in the coming elections.

As noted, the recent election in the Czech Republic was the third election in recent months that was accompanied with the success of extremist groups. Also in Germany and Austria, right wing extremists and nationalists were able to gain more power recently.

For example, in Germany, the Alternative for Germany found its way to parliament and gained more than 12 percent of the vote. It was an alarm for Berlin and the European Union. Over the past 50 years, the right extremists has not been fundamentally a part of the German political equation. However, the AFD has now become the third strongest party in Germany after Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. This extremist party, with anti-immigration, anti-Islamic and anti- United Europe slogans, has been able to stand above parties such as the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party, and also the Social-Democratic Party.
Undoubtedly, the most important, and of course the most bitter message of the recent German election has been the victory of the right-wing extremists and their presence in the country's parliament. Although the far-right movement has gained strength in many European countries in recent years, its progressive growth in Germany was not predictable for many analysts.

What has already happened in the Czech Republic can be analyzed in the same way. As traditional parties such as the Social-Democratic party and the Conservative party become weaker, nationalist and populist parties, which are often of anti-United Europe approaches, have more opportunity to take power. The continuation of this process can put the EU and the Eurozone in a difficult position. This difficult situation can ultimately lead to the withdrawal of some countries from the Eurozone and from the European Union, which eventually may result in the collapse of the United Europe.

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