Will a former spy win the Czech elections?

A week before the parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic the constitutional court has overturned rulings of lower courts that cleared the Slovakian-born politician Andrej Babiš of charges of having cooperated with the Czechoslovakian communist-era secret police, the ŠtB. But neither Czech nor Slovakian commentators believe this legal defeat will significantly harm his chances in the elections.

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Denik (CZ) /

Secret service Career no longer a problem

Babiš' opponents will hardly benefit from his defeat in court, Denik posits:

“Babiš' rivals are overestimating the voters' historical memory. They judge a politician's qualifications based on his or her current performance; the past is irrelevant for them. Babiš' poll ratings don't depend on his moral integrity under the former regime, but on his successful career as a capitalist. Thanks to that career the voters consider him a top manager. Twenty years ago being suspected of cooperating with the secret service was a political handicap. Back then people feared such politicians' pasts would expose them to blackmail. Nowadays such fears have long since become irrelevant.”

Denník N (SK) /

Those who vote for a liar will vote for an informer

Although the decision is a victory for the administration of justice it won't make much of an impact on Andrej Babiš' supporters, Dennik N believes:

“The secret police's materials, including the informers' files, are historical documents. It's the task of the authorities charged with managing these files to publish them. Only in this way can the historical truth come out. True, the judgement will delight many decent people and make it more difficult to falsify history in the future. But it won't deter Babiš' voters. If it doesn't bother you that someone like Babiš is constantly using his political power to line his own pockets and has repeatedly been caught lying, you won't be bothered by the fact that he worked as an informer either.”