Seminars

EUROSCEPTICISM AND RADICAL RIGHT IN THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

14. 4. 2011

Monday July 11, 2011, Jilská 1, Prague, Room no. 207

Statement of purpose

In the last two years, the political situation in the Czech Republic was marked by polarized political environment, which resulted in the fall of Topolanek government in March 2009. This was a result of both continuous struggle between the centre-right government and the opposition; and of the growing policy disagreements in the weak government coalition. The two major cleavages of intra- and inter-party competition leading to the vote of no confidence for the Topolanek government stemmed from (1) economic reforms in the areas of pension and health care reforms and the proposed ways to combat the aftermath of the global financial and economic crises, and (2) attitudes toward further deepening of the process of European integration.

 

These political developments have been accompanied by growing citizen disenchantment with political parties and government performance resulting in the lost of support for the major political parties in the 2010 elections. The parties which lost the most were the Christian democrats (KDU-CSL), which for the first time since 1990 did not gain mandates in the lower chamber of the parliament and the ODS, which lost. The parties, which most benefited from the disenchantment, as well as from the use of new forms of political mobilization such as the social media were TOP09, and to a lesser degree the Public Affairs, which together gained over 27.5% of the vote and 32.5% of seats.

 

With regard to EU membership, the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2009 was seen to be a very important occasion for consolidating the country’s standing in Europe after the long-term struggle between an extremely vocal Eurosceptic President Klaus, and a progressively pro-European government. After the ruling of the Czech Constitutional Court in December 2008, and the results of the European elections, in which several new ‘Eurosceptic’ and ‘Euro-optimist’ political groupings did not win a single mandate, it is safe to state, that the cleavage revolving around the depth of the European Integration has lost its salience.

 

However, compared to other new Member States, the Czech Republic tends to rank high on the Euroscepticism scale (Taggart and Szcerbiak 2004). In agreement with Kopecký and Mudde, the workshop argues that the picture is much more complex (Kopecký and Mudde 2002). The issues connected to the Convention on the EU constitution brought new topics into the political arenas of Central and eastern Europe and in some countries contributed to the rise of new political parties, some with radical tendencies.

 

The workshop thus proposes to concentrate on the interplay between European integration process and radical parties. The main aim of the workshop is to present the findings of recent research and discuss these with the members of the academic public and civil society.

 

 

Preliminary Program

14:00 – 14.20 Opening remarks  Dr. Zdenka Mansfeldova

14.20 – 15:00 Paper 1. Dr. Petra Guasti (IS AS CR) Euroscepticism in the Czech Republic

15:00-15:40 Paper 2. Lenka Bustikova Siroky (Duke University) Desperate Coalitions: Political Extremism and Accommodation of Minority Demands

15:40-17:00 Round table discussion

 


Workshop coordinator: PhDr. Petra Guasti, Ph.D petra.guasti@soc.cas.cz

Phone:  +420 210 310 237 or  +420 210 310 563

For any questions and inquiries please contact: pavla.vamberova@soc.cas.cz