democratic chambers
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Democracy evolves in different stages. From absolute monarchies and divine rights of kings to people’s realization that their opinions count and matter in the affairs of the state, of whose governments, crowns and kings are, but a part.

Czech Republic’s transition from communism to a democratic state in recent decades is no exception. Here also, the people’s growing realization is another test-case for democracy itself. Some 30 years ago the Communist regime had collapsed and the Czech Republic came into being, and the following period to this day has been witnessing an era of transition. The peace and turbulence are the two ever-changing seasons of the transition.

Nowadays, it is the latter that has been gripping the central European country that is also the part of the European Union, where hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets against their prime minister, Andrej Babis. The protesters demand his resignation.

In the biggest protest since the fall of the communism, some 250,000 people are questioning the political and ethical authority of their PM, who is accused of criminal investigations in his country. Besides, he is also facing an EU conflict of interest probe. However, Mr. Babis denies the charges that he has abused the 2 million Euro’s subsidy from the EU. The 28-nation coalition gave, under its policy to help small businesses, the subsidy to “stork nest”, which is allegedly owned by the PM, but whose ownership he has been hiding.

The PM, who is also the second richest man of Czech Republic, is also being probed by an EU conflict of interest investigation over his Agrofert conglomerate. As the European Commission audit report leaked earlier this month, reveals that Mr. Babis is still extracting profit from the group. The report also says that he should refund around 17.5 million Euros in subsidies.

These developments in a democratic state are supposed to draw people’s attention, and the result was that some 250,000 protesters filled Prague’s Letina Park on Sunday to express their anger. However, the alleged corruption and fraud have been outrightly denied by PM Babis, who siad they are politically motivated, adding that he will not return any subsidy.

In addition to these charges, the Czech Republic PM is also accused of being an agent to the secret police of the communist era. And the organizers’ selection of the same place for Sunday’s protest where the mass protest brought down the communist regime three decades ago is an indication that the protestors tend to identify the two eras while comparing the communist regime with that of the existing government.

In yesterday’s protest, many voiced concerns against the top political leadership of the country, including PM as well as President Milos Zeman, in a bid to protect democracy.

Mr. Babis is also facing some protesters’ wrath due to his failure to agree a net zero carbon emission target in a recent EU meeting. The EU’s plans to tackle global warming phenomenon by setting certain goals by 2050 were vetoed by four countries, including the Czech Republic last week.

On each occasion, it seems, that Mr. Babis has failed his people as the head of the government; and, this is a dilemma of the countries where democracy is in its transitional phases. Another such example, similar to the Czech Republic’s case is Pakistan, where somewhat similar developments have been unfolding for last few years. Here also, the country saw the PM, Nawaz Sharif, accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering and after a series of mass protests was brought to justice by the Supreme Court of the country that convicted him eventually.

PM Babis also, like the Pakistani PM, Nawaz Sharif, has kept saying that these cases are politically motivated accusations. But when he sought a remedy and sued for defamation against these charges, a Slovakian court dismissed his claims, ruling that his identification as an agent to the secret police of the communist era was not wrong.

The organizers of the protests say that it is unacceptable that the “29 years after the Velvet Revolution, and StB agent would be Prime Minister of our country.”

However, despite all the controversies attached to the PM, he continues to draw popular support among the voters. The recent EU elections testify to this assertion, in which he obtained 21% of the vote. This is perhaps where the shoe pinches. On one side, people support an accused PM; while on the other, the protests take place seeking his resignation.

These phenomena we call as political development. From this point, the sense of realization takes citizens to another level from where they can see their increased role in defining the politics of the country. Unfortunately, democracy that has reduced its definition in countries like the Czech Republic or in Pakistan, to voting once in 5 years has in fact a broader role that calls itself democratic.