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Analysis: Why Czech ultra-right voters chose Okamura, not the DSSS

Prague, 30.10.2013 0:20, (ROMEA)
Tomio Okamura (Photo: Vít Hassan)
Tomio Okamura (Photo: Vít Hassan)

Czech Senator Tomio Okamura and his "Dawn of Direct Democracy" (Úsvit přímé demokracie) party won a surprising 6.88 % of the recent vote for the lower house. The party's extreme opinions border on fascism and it is evidently no accident that its name is very similar to that of the Greek right-wing extremist party Golden Dawn.

A couple of years ago Golden Dawn was the third most popular party in Greece. The economic crisis there brought them into parliament.

The very poor economic situation of many Czech people is precisely what lies behind the surprising electoral success of Okamura's Úsvit. The party primarily attracted voters through its antigypsyism and extreme populist opinions.

Senator Okamura is very well aware that his Asian appearance is a certain "handicap" in the eyes of some racist voters here. That is why he has been doing his best to balance that "handicap" with opinions that are more racist than those of many other politicians, and racists have accepted him, to a certain degree, as a Czech patriot. 

The almost 7 % success for Okamura's party sharply contrasts with the blindingly obvious failure of the right-wing extremist DSSS, which got 0.86 % of the vote. The programs of these parties are practically identical on several points.

While DSSS chair Tomáš Vandas attempted to change the image of the DSSS as a right-wing extremist party, some of whose leading representatives are demonstrably linked to football hooligans, neo-Nazis and street brawlers, he failed. That is probably the main reason some of the DSSS voters have now chosen the gentlemanly Okamura - his anti-Romani, racist rhetoric is greatly similar to that of the DSSS, but unlike them, his slate is clean when it comes to neo-Nazi ties. 

, brf, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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DSSS, Fascism, Neo-Nazism, Racism, Tomio Okamura, Election 2013, Czech Republic


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