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The head of the ANO movement is trying to gain points by criticizing the chairman of the Pirates Party

The pre-election struggle is gaining momentum, now even the topic of political defection was brought up

Radek Polák
29.Jun 2021
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4 minutes to read
Ivan Bartoš, Piráti

The topic of political defection appeared in the election race. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš brought it up. The reason is obvious: to attack one of his main opponents, which is the Pirate Party. Because in most surveys, along with the STAN movement, Babiš was overtaken by them.

Sources: Právo, Frekvence 1, novinky.cz, iDnes, Deník N

Until now, the Communists have been the main critics of political defection. They have repeatedly suggested that a Member of Parliament or a Senator who changes sides during the parliamentary term can lose their mandate. The proclaimed proposal seeks to "make it impossible to change the balance of political forces in chambers of parliament against the will of the electorate." Critics argue that this is against the constitution and that the only reason is to reprimand those who dare to have a different opinion in the parliament than the one proclaimed by the leadership of their party or movement.

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Mladší a střední generace Pirátům často věří víc než zavedeným stranám a hnutím
Mladší a střední generace Pirátům často věří víc než zavedeným stranám a hnutím Source: Pixabay

According to Babiš, Bartoš wanted to run for ANO

It may come as no surprise that Babiš, who is kept in the government thanks to the Communists and who has repeatedly been the object of criticism that a prosecuted politician shouldn't be the country's prime minister, has now taken up the issue. In June, in an interview for the Press Club Frekvence 1, addressing the chairman of the Pirate Party Ivan Bartoš, Babiš stated the following.

Pronájem bytu se zahradou, 98 m2 – Praha
Pronájem bytu se zahradou, 98 m2 – Praha, Praha 5

"Mr Bartoš and I used to go for coffee. I remember when he wrote me that he would like to run for mayor with ANO,"

said Babiš. However, the chairman of the Pirate Party refuted it.

In recent years, several "sheep" have left Babiš's stable or moved to another group. One of the best-known examples is MEPs Radka Maxová, who joined the CSSD, and before that Petr Ježek and Pavel Telička. Together they founded the failed Hlas movement.

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Andrej Babiš. Šéf hnutí ANO se snaží aktuálně oslovit především starší ročníky
Andrej Babiš. Šéf hnutí ANO se snaží aktuálně oslovit především starší ročníkySource: PIxabay

The example of MP Kristýna Zelienková is also well known, she criticized the Prime Minister, among other things, for the Čapí hnízdo (Stork's Nest) grant case and complained about the lack of discussion within the movement. Zelienková then moved to the TOP 09 and STAN.

Although five years ago, the ANO parliamentary group registered one more arrival. It was an MP Karel Tureček, who was originally elected in TOP09.

The most famous political defectors

The media gave attention to some other examples of political transfers in the past: MP Petr Kott moved from the ODS to the US-DEU, and CSSD deputies Miloš Melčák and Michal Pohanka left the hall during voting on Mirek Topolánek's government. The head of the Social Democrats, Jiří Paroubek, called them "traitors" for their actions back then. Even TOP09 itself was established more than ten years ago, thanks to the fact that some deputies left the KDU-ČSL and founded this very party.

There are many more examples such as these. Mari Machatá, a member of the Unie svobody (Freedom Union), left the Union in 1999 and later joined the Česká strana národně sociální (Czech National Social Party).

Even before that, the public was shaken by the case of Tomáš Teplík, who was elected to the parliament under CSSD in June 1996, but six months later he was expelled from the previous opposition party because he repeatedly supported a balanced state budget. He also supported Klaus's government during the vote with another member of the CSSD, Jozef Wagner. Both later left the party. Teplík was then accepted into the ODS and re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1998 and 2002.

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Jednání v poslanecké sněmovně
Jednání v poslanecké sněmovněSource: Milan Malíček / Právo / Profimedia

But sometimes a politician leaves the party against their will. CSSD deputy Josef Hojdar, who was a member of the Communist Party from 1982 to 1992 and then KSČM (Communist Party), was expelled by the Social Democrats in Most when he was allegedly irregularly elected head of the local organization, thus grossly violating the party statutes. Less than a year later, he preferred to resign from his term in the Chamber of Deputies.

Due to the election of the president, Evžen Snítilý, an MP, was expelled from the CSSD in the 2008 elections. Instead of the party-recommended economist Jan Švejnar, he raised his hand for ODS candidate Václav Klaus. Nevertheless, he managed to stay in the Chamber of Deputies for another two years.

Former actor Vítězslav Jandák presents one of the most brilliant examples of political defection. While in 2006 he stated that whoever didn't vote for the CSSD would get a beating from him and that he was an absolute supporter of Miloš Zeman, he later turned his attention to Andrej Babiš.

He stated the following about him:

"He speaks like a normal person. He managed to achieve something in life and then he told people that he would remove the shortcomings. Those introduced by the parties of the past."

We can only add to it that last year he ran for the Senate under the ANO movement, but before that he passed through the "traditional" CSSD, ODS and KDU-CSL. At the beginning of his political career, he was in the now-forgotten Republican Union.

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Boj o voliče už začal, i když jsou volby až na podzim
Boj o voliče už začal, i když jsou volby až na podzimSource: Pixabay

ANO has also defected

From the above, it's clear that political defection has always been in our country and if the legal norms don't change, it will probably continue. In the light of these facts, it's clear that even if the current chairman of the Pirate Party had sought the position of mayor under the ANO movement in the past, it would certainly not have been something unique. According to a number of experts, it seems the movement itself has deviated from its liberal direction and is currently focusing only on the older generation. They form a strong electoral base these days, as the population in the Czech Republic is ageing more and more.

The departure from ANO was also confirmed by MEP Maxová, who, according to her words, at first believed that ANO was a centre-oriented anti-corruption movement that wants to help small and medium-sized businesses and wants to do a fair social policy. But at present, she said, it seems to be already a different political entity.

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Andrej Babiš a Miloš Zeman
Andrej Babiš a Miloš ZemanSource: Michal Šula / MAFRA / Profimedia

"It has deviated from the original idea and sometimes marketing interests prevail instead of what would be better for the Czech Republic,"

she explained recently to Deník N.

This shows that the ANO movement itself, which has been trying to attack the head of the Pirate Party in recent days and weeks, can become an ideological political defector as well. We will be watching intently the progress of this game of musical chairs.

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