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September 29, 2022



All candidates for the "Mayors and Independents" party in Czech town are quitting to run as their own group after mayor is told not to run for espousing racist violence

18.7.2022 10:42
Jaroslav Červinka (2022) (PHOTO:
Jaroslav Červinka (2022) (PHOTO:

The entire candidate list of the "Mayors and Independents" (STAN) movement in Poděbrady is resigning together after criticism of remarks made by Jaroslav Červinka, the lead candidate and current mayor, that expressed sympathy for the idea of killing Romani people. The candidates will retain their rankings and run for the upcoming local elections under a different name and are currently drumming up the signatures necessary to registering their candidacies anew, according to the newspaper Mladá fronta DNES (MfD).   

"The entire candidate list is withdrawing, that's how it is," Červinka told the paper, who resigned after being called upon to do so by the national chair of STAN, Vít Rakušan, who is also First Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister, and an MP. The mayor also decided to resign as a member of STAN.

MfD reports that all of the other candidates in Poděbrady running for STAN have decided to end their candidacies along with him. They will all run for election together under a different name. 

"Yes, we will all run for election as the Independent Candidates of Poděbrady [Nezávislí kandidáti Poděbrad], currently we are looking for the 1,003 signatures necessary to register by the deadline," Červinka said. He is explaining his approach by saying he has public support.    

The mayor claims to have made the much-criticized remark about shooting Romani people in an atmosphere of tension when, after a five-hour local assembly meeting, he wanted to express support for citizens who had come to complain about problems they are allegedly experiencing with a family of Romani origin living in a municipally-owned apartment on Ostrovní Street. Červinka was called upon by the Nymburk district cell of STAN not to run for re-election after making the remarks. 

Rakušan said over the weekend that if Červinka did not withdraw his candidacy, he would remove him from the list. The supervisory board of the movement also filed a motion to suspend his membership in STAN. 

Speaking during a June meeting of the municipal assembly, the mayor had told the story of once being reprimanded by the district authority. He said he was reprimanded for remarks he made after a traffic accident in 2001 that he alleged was caused by dogs that were allegedly owned by a citizen of Romani origin. 

"... I then said my memorable sentence that it would be better to shoot them. The cop told me that they should not be shot, that the dogs could not help themselves, and I said I didn't mean it was the dogs who should be shot," the mayor told the local assembly.

Červinka went on to say that back in the day when police asked him to explain himself, he denied having an inclination toward racism or wanting to shoot Romani people. He apologized for the remarks subsequently to the media. 

The mayor has since said that his remark about Romani people was stupid 20 years ago and is still stupid today. He claims that his emotions got the better of him, as did fatigue, and that he did not mean what he said to sound like it did.

STAN has recently had to grapple with many problems among its members and will hold an extraordinary general assembly on Saturday in Hradec Králové. Rakušan will defend the job he has been doing as chair on that occasion.  

The movement, which is part of the national coalition Government, initially convened the general assembly because of the accusations against Petr Hlubuček, a member of STAN who is a local politician in Prague, in association with the financial management of the municipal transit company there - a case referred to under the police code name for it, "Dozimetr". Moreover, the leadership elected by last summer's general assembly has largely fallen apart.  

Former Czech Education Minister Petr Gazdík of STAN has resigned not just his cabinet post, but also as vice-chair of STAN over his contacts with another person accused in the Dozimetr scandal, businessman Michal Redl. In March, MEP Stanislav Polčák of STAN resigned that office, while another vice-chair of the movement, Věslav Michalik, passed away suddenly in June. 

Of the four regular vice-chairs of the movement, therefore, the only one remaining is Czech MP Věra Kovářová (STAN), who is a vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies. The first vice-chair of STAN, Jan Farský, has been on a scholarship in the USA for several months.   

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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