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Non-voters elect the most and fail to show the middle finger (By Tomáš Sedláček)

By Tomáš Sedláček

The fact that our country has a broken leg does not mean we conceive hatred for her. The fact that we are disappointed in politics does not mean that we do not have the opportunity to express our opinions. Those who do not vote elect the most. They may feel by not voting they are showing the middle finger to politicians, but actually they do the opposite. Not voting does not send a message to anyone, except the message of being happy with everything, so they see no point in going to the election.

I imagine my ideal party a little bit differently (I guess like everyone, including the heads of the parties themselves), but I already knew who I was going to vote for last weekend. But I also knew exactly who I was not going to vote for and I was excited to manifest it on Friday. That is what democracy is particularly about, namely the right to say who we do not want. Not the hope that we will have the ideal policy or politician, an all-saviour Messiah (anyone who promises this is a liar, anyone who believes in it is an incurable fool destined to spend their life in a democratic depression), but there are some policies we will not have, we will get rid of them by voting (for someone else), not by non-voting. People who you do not want to be in charge (or to serve) cannot be swept aside just by not to going to vote, but by not voting for them. To show the middle finger first of all you have to take action and show them - go to the elections to make your beliefs somewhat visible. "Showing" the middle finger at home watching television is not only hypocritical and pathetic, but it will mean that this political non-manifestation will be the only thing left for you in the future. Do not complain, or take the position of passive scapegoat (historically such a popular Czech pose), you came on your own.

I am just an elector

There is a myth that non-voting sends a signal to politicians that they should go to hell. However, this does not punish policy or policies, but the contrary. It is just leaving the weight of the vote to others. For example if half the voters do not vote then the new government is not half-legitimate, it will be legitimate to a hundred percent, only those who voted did so twice, once for themselves and once for yourself. Your votes do not pass, you just leave it to be delegated to the unknown crowd, deciding about your future without you. Around a 60% turnout at the elections meant a few million still did not vote at these important elections. Conversely, those of you who went to the elections voted for those 40% who "do not vote".

So even if you did not know who to vote for, these steps should have been followed (and will be again if there is a re-election): reduce the list of parties by deleting those you will not vote for. Then think twice about voting for the party which is not clear about what it wants. Personally, I find it better to vote for the party that I know how they will behave (even if it does not agree with everything I do - such a party does not exist anywhere in the world). Do not choose people with dictatorial tendencies, in spite of overflowing great motives. The dictator becomes a tyrant often rhetorically, by the auspices of the nation´s welfare at his expense. Select the party that has a chance to get into parliament. Personally, I will never vote Communists, Nazis and xenophobes or anyone who sympathizes with the possibility of working with them - but it is up to the conscience of each of us. A party with only anti-corruption tendencies? Even I consider it a priority, but it is not enough for me - I'd like to believe it, but the previous government had plenty of anti-corruption policies and look what happened. One last thing: how will the representatives represent our country - to the world and to history? Can the respective individual behave with dignity or is there a compelling risk of embarrassment and shame

Then there should be a few parties left on the list from which you can choose. Here you are safe and you can almost throw the dice, because it was important to clearly choose who not to vote for. This is the main priority of democracy.

Otherwise you end up as a nation that does not even interfere in its own internal business, and are left just wondering and wondering and blaming xenophobic guilt and its surroundings.

Russia versus Russia

In one way I'm glad that this election has at least crystallized some positions. For example, today we know where the former president and the current one feel at home - nothing more to say, nothing to explain or anything to pretend. Every president has his own party and feels free to destroy it and he can see how much support his ideas have.

I want a government that is not afraid of Europe - it was the best thing we did for the last generation; economically and politically. I do not want to symphatize with any orientation other than European, because in the real politics it means Russia; there is no other mental alternative for us. Nobody plays on an empty playground today, even Switzerland, in the middle of the global financial crisis is hanging on the Euro and did the opposite of what was predicted by Czech europhobes, namely the disintegration of the euro area. To show middle finger to those who deserve it, show it by voting. Otherwise, let your hands be tied.

About the Author: Tomáš Sedláček (1977) is a Chief Macro-economic Strategist at ČSOB. He served as a non-political expert advisor to the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, with special responsibility over fiscal consolidation and the reform of the tax, pension, and healthcare systems. He also served as an economic advisor then-president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel. (    

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