Friday, 28 May 2010

Bringing back a Hapsburg connection

If noble predicates were not banned by law in the Czech Republic, Karl Johannes Nepomuk Josef Norbert Friedrich Antonius Wratislaw Mena von Schwarzenberg would be known as His Serene Highness The Prince of Schwarzenberg, Count of Sulz, Princely Landgrave in Klettgau, and Duke of Krumlov. As there is a ban they simply know him in Prague as Karel Schwarzenberg, a former Czech Foreign Minister and current leader of the Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09 (TOP 09). And after a national election being held today and tomorrow this Prince may well emerge as the "king maker."
To an outsider like me the politics of the Czech Republic seem as complicated as the TOP 09 leader's name but a few themes about this ballot are clear. The Republic has a recent history of financial scandals involving government ministers and Karel Schwrzenberg has pledged to battle rampant corruption with his newly formed party. The message of this nobleman with the Hapsburg connection is, reporters Der Spiegel, that "I am just as disgusted with the politicians as you are -- and that is why you can trust me."
The latest opinion poll I can find - that published by the Angus Reid Global Monitor - suggests that there certainly are many who do trust him. 
Support of over 9% is a good start for a fledgling party and well above the 5% minimum needed to gain seats in the 200 member lower house under its D'Hondt system of proportional representation.
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