Could the anti-missile system doom the Czech government?

Could the Czech government, which rests on a thin reed after taking more than seven months to form in the evenly divided parliament, be threatened by the prospect of being one of the hosts to a controversial proposed US missile defense system?

&#268eské Noviny, as noted at the blog Greens for Greens, reports that one of the coalition partners, the Czech Green party, might vote against the proposal. The deputy chairman Ondrej Liska said that this would not have to mean an end to the government coalition.

Whatever the deputy leader might say, it is hard for me to see how the government could survive one of its partners voting against such a major foreign policy issue. The Czech Green party is more liberal (in the strictly economic sense, and as that term is understood outside the USA) than most of its counterparts in other counties (as discussed at F&V previously). Indeed it is in coalition with center-right parties. Nonetheless, they are greens, and I have wondered how they would finesse an issue like this one.

The largest governing party (Civic Democratic Party of PM Mirek Topolanek) is in favor of the radar, while the main opposition party (the Social Democratic) is calling for a referendum. According to a recent STEM poll, 70 percent of Czechs reject the radar.

This looks to be a big political test for this government. And for the Czech Greens.

0 thoughts on “Could the anti-missile system doom the Czech government?

  1. I think you overestimate how Green the Czech Greens and perhaps underestimate how heterogeneous Green parties are as a party family. Although there are some Czech Greens of a recognisably left-libertarian slant familiar from the US or Northern, the party’s leaders are eco-liberals with a dissident (=anti-communist and Atlanticist) background and have no problem allying with the pro-market right
    (and great problems allying with either the Social Democrats or Communists). You also underestimate, I think, just how good Czech politicians are at patching up and getting through ‘crises’ after a decade without strong minority government. Both the Greens in government and the Social Democrats seem to be finesseing the issue with no problem with this stuff about a referendum, which is just a fig leaf mudding the waters by bringing in the issue of direct democracy. Ondrej Liska spells it out for you. A more interesting question is whether the Czech Greens might split internally at some point but party leader Martin Bursik has proved an effective political manager so far, the party’s poll ratings are good (scooping up a young socially and economically liberal electorate with nowhere) and being in office seems to be adding to party unity.

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