Andrej Babis: Czech Republic elects its own Donald Trump as right-wing surge continues

Andrej Babis: Czech Republic elects 'Czech Trump' as many countries see rise in far-right support

Andrej Babis won the Czech Republic election

Monday, October 23, 2017

Another election in Europe, another win for the political right.

This time it's the turn of the Czech Republic, which has elected a man whose background, and politics, bear remarkable similarity to Donald Trump.

Andrej Babis, the country's second-richest man, campaigned on an anti-immigration and anti-eurozone platform. He railed against "politics as usual" and he's vowed to run the country like a family firm. No doubt Steve Bannon fervently approves.

Babis's election will no doubt trouble some observers, but the fact that a far-right party, the ODS, came second is perhaps even more worrying. The SPD party is not only vehemently anti-EU, its leader, Tomio Okamura, had told Czechs to stop eating kebabs and walk pigs near mosques. The fact that this man is half-Japanese hasn't seemed to have dawned on him.

Ordinarily the Czech results would probably have garnered international headlines. But, in the current political climate, it's not really anything out of the ordinary - as these recent examples clearly demonstrate.

Alternative for Germany

The Alternative for Germany party is set to take part in its first sitting of the parliament in the country on Wednesday (October 25). In the most recent general election it won 12.6% of the vote putting it in third place. This was the first time in Germany that a far-right party has gained seats in parliament in half a century.

The party are widely likened to the Nazis, who remain a taboo in Germany due to the evil shadow they cast over the country in the 1930s and 40s. Former government member Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has claimed the AfD is racist and anti-semitic, and he certainly isn't alone. Given all these warnings, their success is even more concerning.

The Movement for a Better Hungary

Well-known as Jobbik, the party is also the third-largest party in Hungary, after winning 20% of the vote, previously in 2010 it won 17%, showing a steady increase in support. In the past it has often caused offence to both Jewish communities gypsies, pushing the phrase "gypsy crime." At one point it even created its own security which it said could work with the police, however after being compared to Nazi brownshirts, it was banned by the government.

The next parliamentary election is set to be held next year, but leader of the party Gabor Vona says he wants to change the face of the party to a moderate "conservative people's party." He even recently sent a Hannukah greeting, but it seems unlikely this will garner much favour with Jewish voters given the party's past.

National Front

Leader Marine Le Pen may not have won the most recent presidential election as some expected, but she still secured around a third of the vote. This was a rise in comparison to the previous election in 2002, as she only received between 18% and 20% of the vote.

This year the party manifesto called for immigration to be reduced and Le Pen said that French nationals should be entitled to housing, jobs and education before immigrants. She also previously linked immigration with militant Islamism.

Le Pen may not be as trenchant or virulent as her father Jean-Marie, the former leader of the National Front, but nonetheless she presents a major cause for concern in the eyes of money.

Freedom Party

The Freedom Party finished in second place in the recent Austrian election, beating the Social Democrats, but as the People's Party failed to get a majority, leader Sebastian Kurz will have to form a coalition, and it is thought he could do so with the Freedom Party.

Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache claimed Austria is becoming “Islamified” and suggested that there should be a ban on what he calls “fascistic Islam." Just days before the Austrian election one member was suspended after allegedly doing a Nazi salute and shouting “Heil Hitler" at the same time.

The Finns

In 2011 the Finns were the third-largest party in Finland, however they were not in government. But by 2015 The Finns became the second-biggest party and are in the current Finnish coalition. However it has now elected a new leader, MEP Jussi Halla-aho, who is so right-wing, the Prime Minister may break the coalition up.

The party is against immigration and has previously said both social and health care should be for Finns first. It called for the aid budget to be removed in 2015, but more shockingly suggested young women should be encouraged to have babies rather than study, so those babies can eventually fill jobs. The Finns also features a member dubbed the Black Hitler, his real name being Joao Bruno Putulukeso.

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