New Political Parties in the Party Systems of the Czech Republic

by Ewelina Kancik-Kołtun (Volume editor) Josef Smolik (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection 158 Pages


The book introduces readers to the basic knowledge about changes in the political party system, which started to take place after the parliamentary elections in 2010.The introductory part introduces the basic development of the political party system in the Czech Republic, discusses the characteristics of new actors and described the two concepts used, i.e. the business firm-party and the far-right populist parties. On the basis of this introductory chapter, new political parties are introduced in more detail, namely Public Affairs, the Dawn of Direct Democracy and Freedom and Direct Democracy (associated with Tomio Okamura) and Andrej Babiš’s ANO movement.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • New political parties in the countries of the Visegrad Group (Ewelina Kancik-Kołtun)
  • New political parties in the Czech Republic since 2010 (Josef Smolík)
  • Public affairs: Populism against political dinosaurs and for economic interest (Petr Hušek)
  • Political party Ano: Technocratic politics or a turn towards illiberalism? (Martin Kovanič)
  • Tomio Okamura’s Dawn of Direct Democracy and Freedom and Direct Democracy (Josef Smolík)
  • Conclusion
  • List of abbreviations
  • About the Authors
  • Series index

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The basic aim of this book are new political parties that were successful after the elections in 2010, 2013 and 2017 in the Czech Republic. Their success led to significant changes in the political party system in the Czech Republic, while discussions on business-firm parties, populism and the importance of social media in campaigns started. This book should reflect on these topics and, in the form of individual cases, acquaint the reader with developments over the last 10 years in the context of new political movements / parties.

This brief text gives an insight into the basic areas related to the development of new political parties in the Czech Republic after 2010. At the same time, the concepts used in political science discussions concerning these political movements will be discussed. The basic parameters of the political party system in the Czech Republic will be presented in more detail, as well as the changes that took place with the arrival of new actors – Public Affairs, Dawn of Direct Democracy and Freedom and Direct Democracy and the ANO Movement.

This book reflects not only the various political movements, but also the debates, causations and consequences of the emergence of these new actors. The book focuses mainly on the period 2010–2020.

The very end of the book explains the abbreviations used in the text itself, which mostly refer to political parties, organizations, political processes, etc. We believe that the book conceived in this way will introduce readers to the basic orientation in this issue, which concerns not only the Czech Republic, but also other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

We strongly believe that the book will find its readers, or it will arouse interest in this issue in not only Poland, Slovakia or Hungary.

Josef Smolík, Ewelina Kancik-Kołtun

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Ewelina Kancik-Kołtun

New political parties in the countries of the Visegrad Group

Abstract: The paper deals with the issue of new political groupings in the party systems of the V4 countries. Firstly, the importance of parliamentary elections in democratic systems is stressed, with an account given of the place of political parties. Secondly, the functioning of new political parties in the party systems of the V4 countries is discussed. The aim of the paper is to provide a general analysis of the phenomenon of new political parties in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, considering the common historical and political traditions of these countries.

Key words: new political parties, Visegrad Group, democracy, election, party system


Issues relating to political parties and party systems are among the most important elements of research on political systems. Modern democratic systems are based on the rule of political parties (Chmaj, Sokol, Żmigrodzki 1997: 134). Parties are thus a combination of society, i.e., citizens, and power, with the purpose of acting in the interests of citizens and thus to exercise real power. The topic of new political parties has been explored in the literature in Western European countries since the unfreezing of party systems in the 1970s. In Central and Eastern Europe, on the other hand, far fewer studies address this subject and the state of research. Such a situation may be because political parties in this part of Europe are usually examined in terms of the democratisation process of party systems, and the focus is mainly on the formation and stabilisation of party systems rather than new parties. A short period of institutionalising democracy in the Visegrad countries has thus given rise to a different model of new political parties’ formation and functioning from the Western European one, which was conditioned by the emergence of groupings from regime parties and opposition ones. Therefore, a low level of political parties’ institutionalization has led to their division and internal splits. The present paper ←11 | 12→concentrates on the phenomenon of new political parties in the party systems of the Visegrad Group countries. Its aim is to perform a general analysis of the functioning of new political parties in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, taking into account their common historical and political traditions.

Democracy and election

The basis for the functioning of modern democracies is provided by free and regular elections, which give citizens an opportunity to choose their representatives, who will exercise power on their behalf at various levels, and thus influence the broadly understood policy of the state. Elections allow citizens to express their political preferences, and for this reason are one of the most important features of democratic systems. During elections, a voter can give support to those in power or elect new candidates, changing the political scene. In other words, the electoral mechanism involves either the continuation or alternation of power (change of power). In the pre-election period, political parties choose suitable candidates from their ranks or from their party’s sympathisers, who theoretically do not belong to it. As Giovanni Santori notes, the activation of those in power occurs solely through the act of election (Santori, 1998: 115). The goal of each political party is to win the maximum number of votes to obtain as many public positions as possible after the elections, or to govern on their own by gaining a majority in the parliament, as, for example, Law and Justice (PiS) did after the 2019 parliamentary elections to the Sejm. Therefore, securing the largest number of votes makes it possible to implement the party’s electoral programme. Often, even before elections, parties conduct research and monitor social needs to build their programme and strategy, taking into account socio-political divisions and target groups that have various political, economic, social and cultural interests. In a democratic system, a political strategy being an electoral strategy should not only be a dialogue with the voter or potential voter during the political campaign, but also the party’s idea of how to operate in the period between elections (Walecka-Rynduch). Therefore, new political parties with different programmes and ideologies appear on the political scene and appeal to various segments of the electorate. The rivalry between political parties ←12 | 13→remains one of the basic conditions for the functioning of democracy, simultaneously determining its shape and condition. It should be noted that there is a clear decline in the confidence of European societies in political parties as actors of public life, manifested not only by falling voter turnout, but also a marked decrease in party membership and party identification (Strzelecki, 2013, p. 12). Relationships between political parties and factors influencing those relationships form the party system, which embraces political parties, the norms under which they operate, the relations between them and the functions they perform in the political environment (Wojtaszczyk 1998: 67). The Italian political theorist Giovanni Sartori distinguishes one-party, two-party and multiparty systems: with dominant, moderate, polarised and atomised parties (Sartori 1976).

Changes in democratic systems can only occur through elections. There are also scholars such as Gaetano Mosc, who argues that perfect democracies do not exist because a minority is elected during elections to rule over the majority (Dhal, 1995: 368). Democracy is defined today as a political system in which political parties fight for power in an institutionalised way: determined by procedural rules. Furthermore, these are organised political communities based on collective acceptance of a certain vision of the social order, which define the objectives of political development and establish their preferred hierarchies of political values (Antoszewski: 2005: 9). There is no doubt that in recent decades the democratic world has been experiencing changes in the role of the state, the understanding of politics and the place occupied by political parties. After all, democracy, the model of politics and the party system connected with it are not something fixed, but dependent on a number of external and internal factors, as well as the unique character of the country and the nation (Macala 2013: 21).


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2022 (February)
New political parties Czech Republic Populism ANO Tomio Okamura
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 158 pp., 7 fig. b/w, 19 tables.

Biographical notes

Ewelina Kancik-Kołtun (Volume editor) Josef Smolik (Volume editor)

Josef Smolík, Ph.D. at the Department of Social Studies of the Faculty of Regional Development and International Studies, Mendel University in Brno. He deals with political radicalism, political psychology, Czech political parties and security studies. Ewelina Kancik-Kołtun, Assistant Professor in the Department Public Administration in Political Science Division, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. She deals with e-democracy, and local activism, and carries out research in the field of social participation, political parties and systems in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.


Title: New Political Parties in the Party Systems of the Czech Republic
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160 pages