Wednesday, December 10, 2003

2003 & Beyond: Are The Balkans Swinging Back Toward Nationalism?

Franz-Lothar Altmann is the head of the Southeastern Europe Research Unit at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. He told RFE/RL that to speak of a nationalist resurgence would be 'overdone.' Leaning to the right, he says, is the natural reaction of voters who are disappointed in economic and social reforms.

'I see this swing back to national, or nationalist, parties rather as a normal reaction in this pendulum development, which is obvious in all of the Central European countries. That means reformist parties which do not perform so positively as the population expects are outvoted at the next elections because the population is just disappointed. We saw it in Hungary. We saw it in [the Czech Republic]. We saw it in Poland that the reformist parties have been outvoted. The same happened now in Croatia,' Altmann said.
Does anybody have the slightest clue what he's talking about in the case of the Czech Republic? He's not saying Vaclav Klaus's ODS was a reformist party that got voted out in 1997, is he? Or is he talking about the current resurgence of ODS and the Klaus presidency as a reaction to the Social Democrats' failure to meet reformist expectations? Very strange.


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12:42 PM  

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