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Dear Little L, I think in the formerly communist countries, perhaps only the first of the three characteristics of Bulgarian populists is unique.

Methinks prime exhibit for populism sweeping another country is Slovakia. The main populists are/were: (1) Vladimír Mečiar: first PM afte independence and long-time political mafiosi, who mixed nationalism with post-socialism; (2) Ján Slota: the local ultranationalist, also longtime major of Northwestern industrial town Žilina (/Hungarian: Zsolna/German: Sillein); (3) Rudolf Schuster: was major of second largest town Košice (/Kassa/Kaschau), formed his own party, gathered 8% of the votes in 1998, and defeated Mečiar in the run for Presidency next year (to be dumped five years later); (4) Robert Fico: millionaire leader of left-populist party Smer, currently leading polls (he is the most popular politician and his party has one third of voters), who has no scruples allying with the far-right or Mečiar regionally (well, some of the currently governing right-wing parties didn't either: it was to keep the ethnic Hungarian party from power).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 27th, 2006 at 03:35:58 PM EST
In Poland we've got the Kaczynski twins who are the 'mainstream' populists - hardline nationalist and demagogic but at least vaguely sane. Then there's the literal and ideological descendant of the 1930's fascists, Roman Giertych of the LPR. And finally Poland's wannabe Lukashenko - Andrzej Lepper of the vaguely left wing Samoobrona.  Currently the twins are in power, with the presidency and a minority government that is supported by the LPR and Samoobrona.  To make life more fun the main opposition is a doctrinaire neo-liberal party (PO), and the other opposition party is the post-communist bunch (SLD) - corrupt and completely cynical - more a self help network of ex nomenklatura types than anything else. I just love Polish politics. <snark>
by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 27th, 2006 at 03:54:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just a short offtopic question: what does "Samoobrona" mean in Polish?

I can resist anything but temptation.- Oscar Wilde
by Little L (ljolito (at) gmail (dot) com) on Mon Mar 27th, 2006 at 03:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Samoobrona means self defense.

The other names of parties represented in parliament are:

Pravo i Sprawiedliwosc -Law and Justice, currently in power

Platforma Obywatelska - Civic Platform, main opposition - neoliberal

Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej - Democratic Left Alliance, secondary opposition, previous government, post-communist

Liga Polskich Rodzin - League of Polish Families, supporting the current government, extreme right.

by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 27th, 2006 at 04:09:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew it:-) In Bulgarian it is "samootbrana".

Those are funny names- "Attack" and "Self-Defense"...and they are antonyms too. So while in Bulgaria nationalists are attacking the status-quo, the Polish are defending the people from it?

I can resist anything but temptation.- Oscar Wilde

by Little L (ljolito (at) gmail (dot) com) on Mon Mar 27th, 2006 at 04:16:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
spelling correction - Prawo not Pravo - stuff that happens when you're using Polish words while writing in English, the w is pronounced like a v and there is no v in the language.
by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 27th, 2006 at 04:31:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slovakia could well end up in a similar situation from June this year: a Fico minority government with SNS and Mečiar's HZDS supporting from the outside.

After the Hungarian elections are over, I'll cover the Slovakian. For now, only March poll numbers to show the power of pupulists:

Popularity top 5 ("Whom do you trust most?"):

  1. R. Fico      27,6
  2. I. Gašparovič     12,7 (current President from Mečiar's party)
  3. V. Mečiar     11,8
  4. Z. Martináková    10,6 (liberal party boss, only female)
  5. B. Bugár      8,8 (ethnic-Hungarian government member)
* no one      25,2

Parties that would get in:

SMER (Fico left-populist)    34,5
HZDS (Mečiar left-populist)    12,8
SDKÚ-DS (Christian Dem 1)    11,5
SMK (ethnic Hungarian)    9,6
SF (conservative liberals)    8,0
KDH (Christian Dem 2)    7,6
SNS (far-right)    7,3


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 27th, 2006 at 04:35:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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