>Czech electoral reform debate: sense and insensibility

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Czech current affairs TV programme Politické spektrum devotes a recent issue to that old chestnut of Czech politics (politický evergreen), reform of the electoral system. There are, in truth, a small forest’s worth old chestnuts in Czech politics, but this programme is actually quite interesting. After a maddening filmed introduction featuring some pointless whining by representatives of small extra-parliamentary parties, who claim that the current PR electoral system – and specically its 5% threshold – is illegal, unconstitutional, dictatorial etc because it doesn’t allow Israeli style one-man-and-his-dog parties into partliament, we get a sensible and well informed, discussion on the electoral system between Czech political scientists. They conclude sensibly enough that the underlying issue is the relatively even balance of social and political forces in the CR and the occasional instability of its parties – as recent ructions in the Civic Democratic Party. On the other hand, that hasn’t stopped both big and little parties from litigious trying to bend the electoral system (back) in their direction as Kieran Williams notes in a characteristically polished recent article in Europe-Asia Studies.

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