The pirate party is torn by internal disputes – the party forum dismissed Jakub Michálek, one of the most prominent politicians of the smallest coalition party, from the wider leadership. Why does Michálek bother the pirate party base?
What you will also hear in today’s episode at 5:59
- Why did members of the Pirate Party dismiss vice-chairman Jakub Michálek in a nationwide vote.
- According to the political scientist, for what reason the public forum and online polls have recently been more harmful to the party.
- And how strong an internal split the Pirates are currently experiencing.
Things are boiling again inside the Pirate Party. She has barely dealt with the fight between the former deputy at the Ministry of the Interior Lukáš Kolářík and his assistant, she is solving another problem. Before the weekend, part of the party called for a vote on the dismissal of Jakub Michálek from the Republican Committee at the Pirate Forum. It was decided on Monday. A narrow majority agreed that Michálek must leave the post.
“I was dismissed for pushing for organizational reforms and for the Pirates to focus less on themselves, on their internal processes, and more on politics and what they should do for the people,” Michálek assessed his departure from the leadership party on instagram. Today, a former member of the party leadership suggested that the presidency should be given more powers.
Michálek later wanted to resign from the post of chairman of the parliamentary club, but the party leader Ivan Bartoš did not accept that. And he expressed his support even in the case of a proposal to reform the party’s internal functioning.
According to political scientist Daniel Šárovec from the University of Jan Evangelista Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem, there could have been more than one controversial initiative for change behind the calling of the vote. “Apparently, basically two things that are related and unrelated have come together: on the one hand, the attitude towards the proposed reform and at the same time the attitude towards Jakub Michálek as a representative of the leadership of the Czech Pirate Party,” says the political scientist in the 5:59 podcast.
However, Internet voting is inextricably linked to the Pirate Party and takes place quite often. Michálek himself faced him already four years ago, when one of the members of the party accused him of bossing and the party members then decided whether he should remain in the presidency. At that time, the motion to recall him did not pass. But there are also other examples: in the past, for example, the tool was used by one of the members to call for a poll to dissolve the party.
According to Daniel Šárovec, especially in recent years, this mechanism has become rather a burden for the party. And that’s especially because the Pirates have been in government for more than two years. “The effects of the internal functioning set up in this way and the significant emphasis on the mechanisms of direct democracy can sometimes have a self-destructive effect on that side,” he explains.
Because of the forum and similar votes, the party “washes its dirty laundry in public” instead of resolving disputes behind closed doors. Even their political opponents can catch on to that. “If various disagreements are resolved publicly, they (Pirates) are of course an easier target for possible political competition,” adds the expert.
At the same time, according to Šárovec, this way of functioning also requires a qualified democratic debate within the party, and the Pirates do not always manage to do that. After all, even some party members complain that the national presidency does not communicate with regional organizations. And the political scientist points out that this dispute could escalate at the national forum, which is to be held in January, where the party leadership will also be re-elected.
Time for a change?
Efforts to make certain changes in the internal party structure can also be seen in connection with the dismissal of Jakub Michálek. Soon after the end of the poll, the governor of the Pilsen region, Rudolf Špoták, announced that he plans to compete with Ivan Bartoš for the post of party chairman.
“If I compare it to football – sometimes you have a great team that is not doing well at the moment and changing the coach is the right impulse. Simply changing the coach can give the team confidence back, even though they will change the absolute minimum in their game,” he said in an interview for Seznam Zprávy about his decision.
Ivan Bartoš was at the founding of the Pirate Party in 2009 and has been its leader for most of its existence. “But it will be a big question whether the party members will give him another mandate in January so that he can carry it out next year with the European, regional and senate elections, which will undoubtedly be crucial for the Pirates, or if they will want a change,” thinks political scientist Daniel Šarovec.
In the 5:59 podcast, you will also learn how the online voting mechanism works in the Pirate Party or whether the membership is clear about further action within the government coalition. Listen in the player at the beginning of the article.
Editor and Co-Editor: Pavel Vondra, Dominika Kubištová
Sound design: David Kaiser
Sources of audio samples: Instagram – @piratmichalek, CRo Plus, ČT24, YouTube – Pirates
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