Restructuring the Political Landscape? Comparing Claims on LGBT and Refugees By Mainstream and Populist Parties in the Czech Republic

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - G466 (University of Glasgow)
Petra Guasti , Goethe University Frankfurt
This paper compares claims of representation by mainstream and populist parties in the Czech Republic. The representative claim is defined as ‘a claim to represent or to know what represents interests of someone/something' (cf. Saward 2010: 38). This paper focuses on representative claims on two issues – LGBT rights (2005-2016) and refugees (2015-2016). The analysis of public opinion data and parliamentary debates indicates that issue salience influences positioning of both mainstream and populist parties. The analysis of parliamentary debates shows that the proximity to power interacts outweighs ideology. Permanent opposition both on the right (Dawn) and on the left (Communists) is driven by ideology, while parties competing for power (both in government and in opposition) seek pragmatic ‘catch-as-much-as-you-can' positioning on these issues. In recent years, as new actors emerged, the Czech party system and party competition changed - the Czech politics became more populist and more adversarial. But as this paper shows, it also remains pluralist and able to reach overlapping consensus.