Public Affairs (political party)

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Public Affairs
Věci veřejné
Founded 2001
Dissolved 2015
Headquarters Štefánikova 23/203,
Prague 5
Ideology Conservative liberalism[1][2]
Direct democracy[1][3]
Populism[4]
Political position Centre-right[3][5][6]
Colours Light blue
Local councils
3 / 62,178

Public Affairs (Czech: Věci veřejné, VV, nicknamed véčkaři) was a conservative liberal[7] political party in the Czech Republic.[8][9][10] Its main platform was transparency and opposition to political corruption. It had 24 seats in the 2010-2013 Chamber of Deputies. The party was led by anti-establishment investigative journalist and writer Radek John,[11] and later by Jiří Kohout.

Besides opposing corruption, the party was fiscally conservative.[12] It had a number of right-wing populist policies,[13] without opposing immigrants,[11] but a proportion of its small membership was closer to the centre-left.[14] The party was supportive of direct democracy – the members of the party could change the course of the party by Internet referendums – and was pro-European Union.[3]

Early years[edit]

Founded in 2001, the party focused on local politics in Prague, particularly Prague 1,[15] for most of its existence.[16] In June 2009, Radek John was recruited as its chairman,[15] and it emerged in late 2009 as a contender in the 2010 election, polling above the 5% threshold to win seats, and occasionally above KDU-ČSL and the Green Party. John competed with Karel Schwarzenberg for the title of the country's most popular politician.[17]

In the election, VV received 10.9% of the vote, easily surpassing the 5% threshold, and won 24 seats. The party entered into a governing coalition with the country's two other centre-right parties: the Civic Democratic Party and TOP 09.

Party breakdown[edit]

In April 2011, Vít Bárta, Czech Minister of Transport, was accused of bribery by his party colleagues, deputies Jaroslav Škárka, Stanislav Huml, and Kristýna Kočí, who were subsequently expelled from the party. The incident caused serious problems in the Czech government coalition.[18]

A lawsuit involving several members and deputies of the party began to be debated in court on 5 March 2012.[19] Vít Bárta was accused by the State Prosecution of bribery and Jaroslav Škárka of receiving a bribe.[19]

On 3 September 2013, Bárta announced that Public Affairs would not be standing in the October 2013 legislative election, leading to a split in the party's leadership. Some party members were later elected as candidates of Dawn of Direct Democracy.[20]

Election results[edit]

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats Place Government?
2010 569,127 10.8
24 / 200
5th Coalition (2010–12), Opposition (2012–13)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Election 2010: New Czech Centre-Right Government Assumes Power, Eyes Reforms, IHS Global Insight, 14 July 2010, retrieved 13 October 2012 
  3. ^ a b c Marek, Dan, The Czech Republic and the European Union, Routledge 2010, p. 45 
  4. ^ Stojarová, Věra (2011), "Paramilitary Structures in Eastern Europe", The Extreme Right in Europe: Current Trends and Perspectives, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, p. 276 
  5. ^ Vazac, Rene (2011), "Czech Republic: Crisis Postponed - Navigation to Recovery", Financial Crisis in Eastern Europe: Road to Recovery, Gabler, p. 158 
  6. ^ Bakke, Elisabeth (2011), "The Czech Party System: 20 Years after the Velvet Revolution", 20 Years Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Transitions, State Break-Up and Democratic Politics in Central Europe and Germany, BWV, p. 228 
  7. ^ Frank Chibulka (2012). "The Czech Republic". In Donnacha O Beachain; Vera Sheridan; Sabina Stan. Life in Post-Communist Eastern Europe after EU Membership. Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-136-29981-0. 
  8. ^ Gardner, Andrew (30 June 2010). "Deal struck on Czech government". European Voice. 
  9. ^ Watson, Peggy (2 September 2010). "Czech female MPs have reduced politics by posing as pin-ups". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ "Election 2010: New Czech Centre-Right Government Assumes Power, Eyes Reforms". Global Insight. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Fraňková, Ruth (31 May 2010). "Public Affairs party remains a mystery to many". Radio Prague. 
  12. ^ Mueller, Robert; Mlcochova, Jana (29 May 2010). "Centre-right wins Czech election on austerity plan". Reuters. 
  13. ^ Klausmann, Alexandra (21 May 2010). "Tschechien: Jugend vereint gegen Linksparteien". Wiener Zeitung (in German). Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. 
  14. ^ Lopatka, Jan (29 May 2010). "Snap Analysis: Czech vote good for markets but new party a risk". Reuters. 
  15. ^ a b "Prague politics player Public Affairs enters lower house". Czech News Agency. 29 May 2010. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Czech parties hold coalition talks". Aljazeera. 31 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "A song by Marta". The Economist. 20 May 2010. 
  18. ^ "VV vyhnaly Kočí z klubu i ze strany a vyzvaly ji: Vzdej se mandátu" (in Czech). Týden. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "Zlomový okamžik pro VV: Začal soud s Bártou a Škárkou". Czech Television (in Czech). ČT24. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  20. ^ "Na protest proti spojenectví s Okamurou rezignovala Bártovi polovina vedení VV" (in Czech). novinky.cz. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 

External links[edit]