Lots of interesting stuff in Dag's post
, tho its probably impossible to follow for an outsider. But interesting.
- Fierce take on Vaclav Klaus
and his Civic Democratic Party (ODS) there! Ha. We should match you up against Thomas in a debate on Czech politics, could be exciting ;-)
Talking about Czech politics though, did you see my post to Thomas
re: alternatives to Klaus? What about the Freedom Union/Democratic Union? They once polled as the largest party in the country (in opinion polls, that is), might still have potential. In their Coalition with the Christian-Democrats they still got 14% of the vote last time, after all. Course, the Christian-Democrats are the dominant party there, and they're against gay rights and so on...
- Slovaks voting for the Hungarian Coalition Party
because its simply the sanest in the country. Thats fascinating. I did spend some time studying ethnic minority parties in the region in the nineties, and I dont think any previously had significant impact beyond its own and, at most, other ethnic minorities?
I mean, several tried to turn themselves from a specifically ethnic party (Bulgarian Turks, Latvian Russians) into a multiethnic umbrella party for all ethnic minorities in the country, with varying degrees of success. One of the SMK's original constituent parts, Együttélés-Spoluitie-Wspólnota-Souití, presented itself as such as well (hence the quadri-lingual name). But an appeal to the majority group <thinks>?
Well, Ahmed Dogan, the ever smooth-operating leader of the Bulgarian Turks, for some time set up a common group with centrist Bulgarian liberals, the Zhelev-oriented ones say, that had become politically homeless after the popular anti-communist movement (Union of Democratic Forces) turned very conservative when the only other option was still the ex-communists. The Liberal Democratic Union (LDS) it was, Zhelev loyalist Dimitar Ludzhev was the big Bulgarian name there - here, I found a link
. (Reads it: oh, Zhelev himself was honorary president of the union, and they got membership in the Liberal International!). It never actually stood in an election as a common list though, by the 2001 elections Dogan's Turkish party DPS ran on its own again.
And true! In Slovakia itself, the third of the three original constituent parts of the SMK, the Hungarian Civic Party (MPP-MOS), also presented itself as liberal first, ethnic second, and tried to be a "bridge"-party between Slovaks and Hungarians (without much success, got 2,3% of the vote in '92).
What is definitely true is that at the last Slovak elections already the SMK scored clearly higher than the proportion of Hungarians in the country. The SMK got a record result of 11,2% while the Hungarians make up only 9,7% of the population, according to the last census. It was also a surprisingly good result compared to 9,1% in 1998 and 10,2% in 1994, and to (an added total of) 9,7% in 1992 when the MPP-MOS still ran separately as well.
I'd assumed the high score had to do with a higher-than-average turnout among Hungarians, but perhaps it was already a question of cross-over appeal then?
now is hopeless, I have the same thoughts as you. Not Fidesz (the conservatives), not MSzP (the ex-communists), so probably the Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz) after all, though by now they're a shadow of their former self, both in numbers and political profile. They're almost just a sophisticated adornment of the MSzP by now, no? Wish there was a classic, independent social-democratic party again, the MSzDP was big here before the communists took over...
And yeah, the FKgP - do they still exist? Havent they just been swallowed by Fidesz? And whatever happened to Joszef Torgyan anyway, that crude fool?
- Kukan vs Butora
ha, I can see the dilemma. Sounds like when all those French lefties thought they could vote for some sympathetic Trot in the presidential elections, and then to their horror saw Jospin bypassed by Le Pen for the second round. Butora was an attractive candidate though... But yes, at some point in time you've got to go with the lesser crook, I suppose.
Over time that has made the exclusion of the ex-communist party as a possible choice more abstract, also ... I mean, so many ex-communists scattered and are now represented in centrist or right-wing parties too. One of the two cores of the Slovak Democratic Coalition party is the former Democratic Union (DU), which consisted in former Meciarists who gradually crossed over ... it becomes ever more relative.