Monday, 20 November 2017

HN: Election slogans tell more than Czech parties would like

ČTK |
6 September 2017

Prague, Sept 5 (CTK) - The names of the election programmes of the Czech parties running in the October general election tell about these parties more than they would like to say, Petr Honzejk writes in Tuesday's Hospodarske noviny.

He says the words the parties use in their campaigns are messages that include subliminal associations.

The election programme of the Social Democratic Party (CSSD) of outgoing Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is called "Good Country for Living." In the Czech Republic, "good" is a word used at Czech schools for marking the work of the students. In the official five-point scale, "good" is an equivalent of a C, or an average grade, Honzejk writes.

He says this describes the current CSSD very well: if the party continued ruling the country, nothing horrible would happen - but also nothing excellent. The result would simply be average. Though the CSSD wants to convince the people that it is offering something amazing, it unintentionally confirms that its performance, skills and attractiveness would stay average, Honzejk writes.

The right-wing opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) offer "Strong Program for Strong Czechia." This reminds of the strong businessmen with strong cars who had a strong influence over the party only a few years ago, Honzejk says, hinting at the infamous "godfathers" who were one of the reasons why the preferences of the once strong ODS plummeted.

Such strong rhetorics brings back the unpleasant impression that the party made. Maybe it would be best if the ODS stayed in opposition for another four years, just to be sure that its links to dubious entrepreneurs really get severed, Honzejk writes.

The other right-wing opposition party, TOP 09, has an election programme called "Successful Country - Resistant Society." Reading this slogan, the "successes" of TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek come to one's mind. For example, when Kalousek was finance minister in 2009 and he expected that the budget revenues would be 150 billion crowns higher than they actually were. The budget cuts, which Kalousek introduced to correct his mistake, were tough for people with lower wages. But perhaps the society has become more resistant in this way, Honzejk says.

The Communist (senior opposition KSCM) programme is entitled "We are Your Voice." Given the programme that the party presents, the KSCM probably had in mind former Czechoslovak communist hardliner Klement Gottwald, former communist ideologist Vasil Bilak and communist leader Gustav Husak who became president in the 1970s, after the Soviet military occupation of the country, when it said "we" because the voices of the above politicians can be heard in the programme, Honzejk writes.

The slogan of the Realists, a newcomer to the Czech political scene, is "33 realistic step forward." Steps forward remind of the communist era, but, fortunately, the number 33 evokes a Czech logopedic saying for children, indicating that one should consider the project of Petr Robejsek a mere joke rather than a serious party, Honzejk writes.

Paradoxically, parties that try to be creative and attractive for young voters have programmes without names. Both the Pirates and the Greens only have "The election programme for the period 2017-2021," he says.

This is so unattractive that it shows that the Pirates and the Greens do not expect their potential voters to be interested in any programme, he adds.

The programme of the ANO movement is called "Now or Never." This seems far more creative that the slogans of the other parties, but there is one slight problem - one mistake in grammar. The Czech name of the programme "Ted nebo nikdy" means that both variants ("now" and "never") are possible at once. It would have to be "Ted, nebo nikdy" to mean that the unique chance is now and cannot be repeated, Honzejk.

This seeming detail shows that ANO can make a good impression on voters, but that it actually does not care about details, such as a missing comma or meeting the promises it gives in the campaign, Honzejk writes.

It is good to know that the Czech parties are so open when talking about themselves, he writes.

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