Sunday, October 10, 2021

Czech Republic: Why did the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia fail in the elections?

For the first time since 1948, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) will not be represented in either house of the Czech government.

In this week's election in the Czech Republic, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia took 3.62% of the votes with nearly all precincts reporting, less than the 5% needed to enter parliament.

“I am very disappointed because it is a really big failure,” said KSČM leader Vojtech Filip, who also resigned. 

For the Communist Party, the results are bitter if not unexpected. Voter interest in the party has been on a sharp decline over the past decade, and the KSČM failed to gain seats in the country's upper house, the Senate, in 2018 or 2020.

In 2017, the Communist Party won 7.8 percent of the vote in the Czech legislative election, the first time it had fallen below 10 percent. But in 2018 the party signed a power-sharing agreement with the center-right government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis. The 15 MPs belonging to the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) provided the votes needed to allow a pact formed between Babis’ neoliberal "Action of Dissatisfied Citizens" (ANO) movement and the Social Democrats (CSSD).

Back then, we were writing about the issue:  

"The decision of the CC of KSCM to provide support to a bourgeois coalition government creates reasonable concerns by communists both in Czech Republic and abroad. What will be the stance of the KSCM in the anti-worker, anti-people policies that Babis' government will- sooner or later- implement? The participation of a Communist Party in a bourgeois government is always an extremely dangerous risk which, almost certainly, leads to the ideological and political degeneration of the Party and the removal of its marxist-leninist characteristics" (Czech Republic: In a highly controversial decision, the Communist Party agreed to support Babis' government).

After the counterrevolutionary overthrows of the 1980s in Czechoslovakia and the formation of the Czech Republic in 1993, the communists managed to have a positive electoral performance in the elections, being a source of inspiration for those people who resisted capitalist barbarity. 

Without doubt, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia had for many years an important contribution to the struggle against the anti-worker policies of the bourgeois governments, being a political force that represented the rights and interests of the Czech working class. 

However, the illusions about the participation in a coalition government were proved disastrous. The KSCM had no actual reason - whatsoever - to provide support to Andrej Babis's government in 2018. Yesterday's electoral failure is the outcome of this policy. 

The role of a Communist Party is not to cultivate illusions about the prospect of a "progressive government" within the context of capitalism. On the contrary, its role is in the streets, in the workplaces and universities, in every working class neighborhood where the heart of class struggle beats.