Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Peru and Czech republic elections

So Alan Garcia won the Peru election. The talk about a shift to the left in Latin America is overstated, voters reject the policies of previous governments because they are discontented with their policy record and think that the opposition can do better. This has mostly favoured the left in Latin America recently, the more so as traditional party ties have weakened but it could equally favour the right if the left does not deliver. In my thesis in passing I said:
Impoverished rural migrants in third world cities, the great hope of the revolutionary left, were neither inherently radical nor pessimistic but shifted their vote to who could promise immediate benefits.
My reference was Carol Graham's Peru’s APRA,
The Czech Communists lost ground in the elections of 2-3 June, perhaps losing votes to the Greens? It is the only ex-Communist party in
Eastern Europe to continue to style itself Communist. Their unwillingness to explicitly condemn Stalinism is one of the factors that led to them being excluded from the European Left . A Czech Communist leader said this during the negotiations with the European left in 2004:
There are some barriers in the statute of the European Left Party. For example, in the preamble there is criticism regarding Stalinist practices. Bad practices in former socialist countries existed not only because they were Stalinist practices. They were negative practices because they were not democratic. If we only mention the word Stalinist, it will mean, that we recognize the practices of Mao, Pol Pot, Ceausescu etc. So I think, a general formulation would be better, if we could substitute the word “non-democratic” for the word “Stalinist”.
The chair of the European Left responded:
This party is based on common political inspirations. I want to remind you all the way we have behind us. The rejection of Stalinism belongs to our political identity. Without this rejection, many of us would not be in this party. In any case, the rejection of Stalinism has been conceded by any party participating in the founding of the EL and is one of its founding elements. The rejection of Stalinism has nothing to do with our past, but with our future. When referring to our past, when we reject Stalinism, we reject of course all the bad practices, including practices worse than Stalinism. What we radically refuse is the very concept of power which we associate with Stalinism. From there we start to imagine and to have an idea of our future society. Without that refusal, we would not be able to imagine our idea of socialism. That is why this is a very firm point.

In light of the debate about the quality of Labor candidates, this Czech Communist comment is interesting:
I can tell you frankly that our preparation for the election campaign was not very favorable. We started too late and we underestimated the financial coverage of our election campaign. Also, the performance of our regional leaders was not acceptable for the public. We should offer new visions accompanied also by new faces. I regret that the top of our candidate list in regions didn't correspond to this challenge. We have a lot of good talents for political life in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, only a few had the possibility to be on top of our candidate lists.


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