How to run an efficient political machine: the billionaire Andrej Babiš and his political-business project

Abstract

This paper contributes to the debate on entrepreneurial parties with the empirical example of the Czech ANO party. The authors focus on selected aspects of the internal organisation and functioning of the party, emphasising the points where business methods and practices are transferred to the environment of party politics. The empirical part shows how the leader has built loyalty inside the party, and analyses its methods of control and coercion that are similar to the human resources recruitment techniques used in businesses. The authors investigate such matters as the vetting of candidates for public offices, the significant barriers created against those wishing to join the party and the party leadership’s strict control over membership. The article also describes the development of ANO’s electoral-professional services and the creation of mass media support. In conclusion, the authors discuss the broader future for the internal workings of entrepreneurial parties – including their lack of intra-party democracy – and their relationship with the changing landscape of contemporary party politics.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Adamičková, Naďa and Königová, Marie (2017): Babiš před volbami nasadil prověrky na nemakačenky [Babiš introduced checks on shirkers before the elections]. Právo, April 15.

  • Arter, David (2016): When new party X has the ‘X factor’. Party Politics 22(1): 15–26.

  • Barndt, William T. (2014): Corporation-based Parties: The Present and Future of Business Politics in Latin America. Latin American Politics and Society 56(2): 1–22.

  • Bastlová, Marie (2016): Skryté tváře voleb: Kdo tlačí k volebním ziskům ANO [Hidden faces of the elections: who pushes for ANO’s electoral success]. Neovlivni.cz, September 13. Retrieved from https://neovlivni.cz/skryte-tvare-voleb-kdo-tlaci-k-volebnim-ziskum-ano/

  • Beyme, Klaus von (1985): Political Parties in Western Democracies. Gower: Aldershot.

  • Brodničková, Karolina and Danda, Oldřich (2018): Nové straníky táhne do partají volební úspěch i propad [New members are attracted to parties by both electoral gains and losses]. Novinky. cz, February 9. Retrieved from https://www.novinky.cz/domaci/462842-nove-straniky-tahne-do-partaji-volebni-uspech-i-propad.html.

  • Cabada, Ladislav (2016): Český stranický system v roce 2016: Personalizační tendence, populismus a antipolitické přístupy. Politics in Central Europe 12(2): 67–76.

  • Carty, Kenneth R. (2004): Parties as Franchise Systems. Party Politics 10(1): 5–24.

  • Cirhan, Tomáš and Kopecký, Petr (2017): Career Backgrounds, professional Network and Party Cohesion: The Success of ANO in the Czech Republic. Czech Journal of Political Science 24(2): 116–136.

  • Coller, Xavier, Cordero, Guillermo and Jaime-Castillo, Antonio M. (2018): Economic crisis and the selection of candidates. In Coller, Xavier, Cordero, Guillermo and Jaime-Castillo, Antonio M. (eds.): The Selection of Politicians in Times of Crisis. Abingdon – New York: Routledge, 1–18.

  • ČRo Plus (2017): Andrej Babiš získal pravomoc měnit kandidátky hnutí ANO [Andrej Babiš gained the power to change the candidate lists of the ANO movement]. Český rozhlas Plus, February 26.

  • Dvořák (2017): Interview with chair of the Brno organisation of ANO Pavel Dvořák, December 19.

  • Fejtková, Veronika (2011): Babiš: Korupce je geneticky daná. [Babiš: Corruption is a genetic given]. Lidové noviny, November 14.

  • Party financial report (2017): Výroční finanční zpráva za rok 2016, ANO. Retrieved from https://www.anobudelip.cz/file/edee/2017/vfz_2016_na_web.pdf

  • Hájek, Lukáš (2017): Left, Right, Left, Right… Centre: Ideological Position of Andrej Babiš’s ANO. Czech Journal of Political Science 24(3): 275–301.

  • Hanley, Seán and Vachudova, Milada A. (2018): Understanding the illiberal turn: democratic backsliding in the Czech Republic. East European Politics 34(3): 276–296.

  • Harmel, Robert and Svåsand, Lars (1993): Party leadership and party institutionalisation. West European Politics 16(2): 66–88.

  • Havlík, Vlastimil (2015): The Economic Crisis in the Shadow of Political Crisis: The Rise of Party Populism in the Czech Republic. In Kriesi, Hanspeter and Pappas, Takis S. (eds.): European Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession. Colchester: ECPR Press, 199–216.

  • Hloušek, Vít and Kopeček, Lubomír (2017): Different Ways of Institutionalising Entrepreneurial Parties: Czech Public Affairs Party and ANO. Czech Journal of Political Science 24(2): 92–115.

  • Hopkin, Jonathan and Paolucci, Caterina (1999): The Business Firm Party Model of Party Organisation. European Journal of Political Research 35(3): 307–339.

  • Charvát, Jakub and Just, Petr (2016): Krize politického stranictví a noví straničtí aktéři v české politice [The crisis of political partisanship and new party actors in Czech politics]. Praha: MUP.

  • Ignazi, Piero (2010): The Three Ages of Party Politics in Postwar Italy. In Lawson, Kay (ed.): Political Parties and Democracy. Vol. II., Europe. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 47–70.

  • Karvonen, Lauri (2010): The personalisation of politics. Colchester: ECPR Press.

  • Katz, Richard S., and Mair, Peter (1995): Changing Models of Party Organization and Party Democracy: The Emergence of the Cartel Party. Party Politics 1(1): 5–28.

  • Kefford, Glenn and McDonnell, Duncan (2018): Inside the personal party: Leader-owners, light organizations and limited lifespan. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, online first.

  • Koděra, Petr (2013): Exmístopředsedkyně ANO 2011: Ani bohatí nezabrání krádežím v politice [Former deputy chair of ANO 2011: even the rich won’t prevent theft in politics]. Ihned.cz, August 27. Retrieved from https://domaci.ihned.cz/c1-60497990-hnuti-ano-2011-hana-grepova-miliardar-andrej-babis

  • Kolovratník (2018): Interview with ANO MP Martin Kolovratník, January 26.

  • Kopecký, Josef (2013): Do Sněmovny nejde ani náhradník za ANO Sobotka [ANO’s substitute Sobotka is not going into the Chamber either]. Idnes.cz, November 28. Retrieved from https://zpravy.idnes.cz/vedeni-ano-presvedcilo-poslance-sobotku-k-rezignaci-fy8-/domaciaspx?c=A131128_100154_domaci_kop

  • Kopeček, Lubomír (2016): I’m Paying, So I Decide: Czech ANO as an Extreme Form of a Business-Firm Party. East European Politics and Societies 30(4): 725–749.

  • Kosowska-Gąstoł, Beata and Sobolewska-Myślik, Katarzyna (2017): New Political Entrepreneurs in Poland. Czech Journal of Political Science 24(2): 137–157.

  • Krouwel, André (2006): Party Models. In Katz, Richard and Crotty, William (eds.): Handbook of Party Politics. London: Sage, 249–269.

  • Krouwel, André (2012): Party Transformations in European Democracies. Albany: State University of New York Press.

  • Kudláčková, Lucie (2014): Babišovy kandidáty do voleb lustruje bývalá manažerka z leasingové firmy [Babiš’s candidates for elections are screened by a former leasing company manager]. Aktuálně.cz, September 8. Retrieved from August 20, 2018. https://zpravy.aktualne.cz/denik-insider/babisovy-kandidaty-do-voleb-lustruje-byvala-manazerka-z-leasingove-firmy/r~i:insider:article:42859/.

  • Lucardie, Paul (2000): Prophets, Purifiers and Prolocutors. Toward a Theory of the Emergence of New Parties. Party Politics 6(2): 175–185.

  • Malá (2018): Interview with ANO leader of South Moravian regional organisation Taťána Malá, February 15.

  • Matušková (2015): Interview with ANO campaign strategist Anna Matušková, February 19.

  • Orsina, Giovanni (2014): Berlusconism and Italy: A Historical Interpretation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Marušiak, Juraj (2017): Political Entrepreneurs as a Challenge for the Party System of Slovakia. Czech Journal of Political Science 24(2): 179–200.

  • Panebianco, Angelo (1988): Political Parties: Organisation and Power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Pilný (2018): Interview with former ANO MP Ivan Pilný, January 10.

  • Poguntke, Thomas and Webb, Paul (eds., 2005): The Presidentialization of Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Porro, Nicola and Russo, Pippo (2000): Berlusconi and Other Matters: The Era of Football Politics. Journal of Modern Italian Studies 5(3): 348–370.

  • Prchal (2017): Interview with ANO marketing expert Marek Prchal, November 23.

  • Pühringer, Stephan and Ötsch, Walter O. (2013). Das Team Stronach. Eine österreichische Tea Party? [Team Stronach. Austrian Tea Party?] ICAE Working Paper Series, no. 19.

  • Pustějovský (2018): Interview with ANO leader of Zlín regional organisation Pavel Pustějovský, January 26.

  • Randall, Vicky and Svåsand, Lars (2002): Party Institutionalization in New Democracies. Party Politics 8(1): 5–29.

  • Sacher, Tomáš (2013): Jsem realizátor a budovatel, rozhovor s Andrejem Babišem [‘I’m an implementer and builder’ – an interview with Andrej Babiš], Respekt, July 1.

  • Seisselberg, Jörg (1996): Conditions of Success and Political Problems of a ‘Media-Mediated Personality-Party’: The Case of Forza Italia. West European Politics 19(4): 715–743.

  • Simonaityté, Vitalija (2014): Leaders of Lithuanian Political Parties: Berlusconization As a European Way of Personalized Leadership? In Mažylis, Liudas (ed.): Constructing „Europe” and Spread of European Values. Kaunas: Vytautas Magnus University, 225–244.

  • Smlsal, Matěj (2013): Členové ODS utíkají k ANO. [Members of ODS are leaving for ANO]. Ihned. cz, November 4. Retrieved from https://domaci.ihned.cz/c1-61144970-politici-ods-top09-ano-svobodni-zajem-o-vstup-do-stran-clenstvi

  • Statutes ANO (2013): Stanovy politického hnutí ANO 2011, March 2.

  • Statutes ANO (2015): Stanovy politického hnutí ANO 2011, March 1.

  • Statutes ANO (2017): Stanovy politického hnutí ANO 2011, February 26.

  • Stauber, Jakub (2015): Organizační vývoj nových politických stran v České republice pohledem teorie institucionalizace [Organisational development of new political parties in the Czech Republic from the viewpoint of institutionalisation theory]. Acta Politologica 7(2): 133–155.

  • Strøm, Kaare, Müller, Wolfgang C. and Bergman, Torbjörn (2006): Challenges to Parliamentary Democracy. In Strøm, Kaare, Müller, Wolfgang C. and Bergman, Torbjörn (eds.): Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies. Oxford – New York: Oxford University Press, 707–750.

  • Šíp, Josef (2018): Financování ANO Andreje Babiše prizmatem konceptu politické strany-firmy [Funding of Andrej Babiš’s ANO, seen as a business-firm party]. Brno: Masarykova univerzita (unpublished thesis).

  • Štický, Jiří (2017): Majitel strany Babiš [Party-owner Babiš]. Reportér, July 29.

  • Válková, Hana (2013): ODS ztratila tři tisíce členů [ODS lost three thousand members]. Idnes. cz,May6. Retrieved from https://zpravy.idnes.cz/ods-ztratila-tri-tisice-clenu-babis-laka-vice-nez-peake-ppw-/domaci.aspx?c=A130506_153744_domaci_hv

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search