The 17th of November 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of what’s known as the "Velvet Revolution" in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. To many it has positive connotations. The capitalist press hailed it as the end of a tyranny and the beginning of freedom and superficially this may seem like the general consensus. However a STEM agency poll in 2013 showed that 33% of Czechs still prefer the old regime to the new. 

With the increasing draconian austerity measures being imposed on the Czech masses combined with plentiful kicks in the form of corruption and embezzlement scandals within all layers of the ruling class and the state, this weekend’s elections were an important event.

The current Czech political crisis erupted on 13th June 2013 when the Unit for Combating Organised Crime and the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office (from Olomouc) raided the cabinet building and several ministries of the Czech Republic along with several offices of politicians and entrepreneurs. The next day, the police confiscated gold and money from these people that they had in a bank in Wenceslas Square.

With the turbulence and discontent in the political landscape over the past year the presidential elections held in January were an important way for the Czech people to express their mood. Although the president has more powers than presidents in neighbouring European countries, it still remains a largely symbolic role with the majority of decisions being left to the parliament and the Prime Minister. It would be fair to say that the Czech President has a relatively large amount of choice in how much power and responsibility he or she wants to take in the running of the country. However, the President does hold some significant powers such as the allocation of bank officials and judges, the ability to veto bills by sending them back to Parliament and also the ability to dissolve Parliament under certain conditions.

Like other Eastern European countries, the Czech Republic had the illusion that with the opening of the market in 1989 and entering into the EU it would eventually be able to enjoy living standards matching the countries of Western Europe. These illusions have been shaken in the last few years. The consequences of this have been shown in the recent period and will inevitably continue to express themselves.

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