Between Friday 2 pm and Saturday 2 pm, Czechs were voting their local representatives and 1/3 of the senate, the upper chamber of the Parliament.
It's simple to describe whom I voted for. In Pilsen as well as the city part Pilsen 4, Klaus-founded center-right ODS, the Civic Democratic Party, received my votes "without further detailed refinements of the candidates", and I also voted the ODS' candidate for the senate. Well, more precisely, he is a shared candidate of ODS and Czech Crown, a party trying to restore the monarchy. ;-) This sounds extremely colorful but the candidate and his program actually looks extremely uncolorful.
Mom, dad, I have to tell you something... I will vote for ODS! – Father screaming all over Pilsen (probably inspired by Proletarians of all nations, lick your aßes): What is the right choice for you!? :-) I only saw this hilarious video by "Pilsen is different" on Sunday morning.
It doesn't mean that I am happy about what the ODS has become. But in the Euroelections, I voted for Mach's Euroskeptics (and it was successful, Mach got to the European Parliament) but it didn't seem to me that they had anything coherent to offer for the local (and even senate) elections so I returned a decade or two ago when a vote for ODS was common sense.
It turned out that Pilsen became the last bastion of ODS! With some exaggeration, Pilsen's role is analogous to what it was in the 15th century when it turned into a Czech stronghold of conservative Catholics in the era of Hussites and protestants of many sorts. Why is that? I don't think that some intrinsic special feature of the Pilsner folks explains the slightly superior results. Instead, the Pilsner city hall – that has been under more or less uninterrupted control by ODS since the Velvet Revolution – has managed the city very well and it even seems to me that there is some consensus about the point (it's partly about the things like the new theater, the only new big theater in Czechia in 3 decades, new stadiums and other things that have been built, including all sorts of lanes for bikers and details of the sort; they plan kindergartens up to 6 pm and free Wi-Fi throughout the public transportation stops, aside from lots of other similar things).
So the votes for ODS here are points for a good management. To some extent, I think it is a legitimate consideration that affected me, too. The local politicians don't really affect the "big ideological questions" and the mundane management of everyday affairs (for an amount of money whose size and origin they can't really affect much) is inevitably a major part of their job.
So on the Pilsner city hall, ODS almost won but not quite: the billionaire's ANO got 17.9% and ODS got 17.6%. In any cases, it is the best result of ODS in all of Czechia. It's much worse in the Pilsen's city parts – where the results don't seriously deviate from the typical results in Bohemia. The only exception is Pilsen 2 (Slovany) because the Czech Crown-ODS guy I have previously mentioned worked as a mayor of Pilsen 2 and must be very popular there so he turned ODS into a winner in Pilsen 2, and got 1st-2nd result in the senate (there will be a rematch of the top two, including a social democrat, next week).
If the results of the Pilsner city hall (and maybe even the worse results in the Pilsen-City district) were copied in the whole Czechia, it would actually be great. What's great about the Pilsner results isn't just ODS – which I am not thrilled by in general these days – but especially the fact that "Pilsen is different" because we actually saw lots of positive votes. However, the actual results in Czechia as a whole are extremely different.
Look at the map at volby.idnes.cz, the local elections. Moravia and Southern Bohemia – the typical "rural" places – is mostly yellow which is the centrist Christian and Democratic Union, the Czechoslovak People's Party (yes, it kept this name). These folks would have annoyed me but thank God for that, kind of. There are just 3 city halls etc. with ODS at the top – Prague's city hall and two more spots in Northeastern Bohemia.
Otherwise there is a dozen of crimson districts with the communists at the top and two dozens orange ones with the social democrats, some black ones with ANO, the billionaire party, and grey ones with unreadable coalitions, not to mention lots of colorless apolitical candidates that sort of dominate nationally and the color map doesn't show them at all.
It's a messy map and it clearly shows that the large parties, especially the readable ones and especially the (at least slightly) readable conservative ones, have nearly disappeared. Maybe one shouldn't demand clear colors in the local elections to the city halls, as I have mentioned.
But look at the senate elections. The tiniest (by territory) colored district on the map is Pilsen and indeed, it's also the only place where the ODS (plus Czech Crown) senate candidate came at the top. There's a dozen of orange social democratic victories and otherwise roughly one from TOP, one from Zeman's SPO ex-friends, two or three ANO, one or two KDU, and so on.
There should be many right-wing victories but there are about two. Such results are completely pathetic.
One aspect of these results is the amazing speed of change of the people's tastes. I mentioned that outside Pilsen, ODS did very badly. But they actually celebrate because they expected even worse results. And what's remarkable is that the new "rising star" right-wing party, TOP 09, really got even worse results. Note that TOP 09 is the party of the failed but powerful presidential candidate Karel Schwarzenberg, the aristocrat. Suddenly, his charisma seems to have evaporated – his politics was presented as so hot just a year or two ago.
TOP 09 has won almost nothing at all. It was safely controlling Prague in recent years but it failed to win even in Prague: ANO came at the top although TOP 09 wasn't far.
ANO, led by the billionaire Babiš, became a very successful movement or party of whatever it is (and it overshadowed even the social democrats in cities) even though its gains are not quite visible on the colorful maps. Because the leader is an entrepreneur, one could say an oligarch, you may think that it can't be anti-capitalism. But it can still be bad for many other reasons.
At the end, I think that the success of ANO represents the Czech population's return to the era of nationwide candidates of the National Front during communism. Such candidates are being elected by people with no knowledge about politics or interest in politics because they're the geniuses of mediocrity who get a "stamp" from the powerful – Babiš, in this case. Of course, the communist logos have been removed, along with some communist items in the program, but otherwise it's the same kind of low-quality, intellectually vacuous cr*p.
Such randomly changing results dominated by some kind of apolitical candidates and parties and movements is a testimony of the current era of post-democracy and post-politics. People no longer seem to have the energy or ability or desire to think about political questions analytically or to compare ideologies. They're sheep controlled by content-free fads. There's some real sense in which the Velvet Revolution was "unnecessary" if people tend to vote in this way. If the communist party got a little bit less Marxist – and indeed, it was gradually losing its excitement for Marxism during the decades – its (and the "National Front's") current candidates etc. wouldn't look too different from those that are being elected.
I am not really upset about these results and trends at all. They're just disappointing. Similar trends exist almost everywhere although their character is different. The American society is also losing political ideas but I would still say that the "fads" that the voters routinely buy are more repulsive than ours. But relatively to what we had in the 1990s and what the West had in the previous decades, the visions, ideas, and quality candidates and knowledgeable voters have more or less evaporated.
I won't proofread the text above because similar texts usually have a small number of readers.
Update Sunday evening: ex-president Klaus said that the result of the elections means that all of us have lost while the apolitical oligarchy has won. I think it is a sort of apt description. He is sad that well-defined parties that stand for something, some values, and have a record have gradually lost and voters are facing a large incomprehensible list of bizarrely named groups and formations that promise to fight for marginal topics such as making Prague greener or bluer etc. He only came to vote to Prague-Kobylisy to please the journalists who would otherwise be frustrated not to meet Klaus after elections.