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Candidate in Czech municipal elections once in extremist party, paramilitary wing

Karlovy Vary, 10.9.2010 14:28, (ROMEA)

Ladislav Paštéka, the leading candidate of the Public Affairs party (Věcí veřejné - VV) in the October municipal elections in Chodov (Sokolov district) was once a member of the extremist, ultra-right National Party (Národní strana - NS). Today’s edition of the daily Právo reports that Paštéka was also a member of the National Guard (Národní garda – NG) paramilitary organization, which collaborated with the NS. Paštéka does not consider the NS extremist and believes the NS and VV parties to be almost identical. Local VV functionaries say their colleague’s extremist past does not bother them.

Právo reports that the NS never made any secret of its deprecatory stances on homosexuals, immigrants, or national minorities. Paštéka was not just a rank and file member, but actively participated in party activities and ran for the party in 20th place in the last EP elections. The paper also reports Paštéka was a member of the NG in the town of Karlovy Vary, which “patrolled” the Drahovice quarter, known for disputes between the Roma residents of a local hostel and non-Roma in the neighborhood.

"I know he wasn’t in the Communist Party," said Karlovy Vary MP Jana Suchá, who is the VV regional leader. "Our articles of incorporation do not address the political pasts of our members otherwise... He has not committed any infractions here, so I do not see any reason to change our candidate list in Chodov," she said.

"The National Party was not an extremist, ultra-right party,” Paštéka told Právo. When asked whether he changed any of his opinions when shifting allegiance to VV, the candidate said there had been no need. “Anyone can compare both parties’ programs and see they are almost the same. These things have to be viewed without animosity,” he said.

"This is a prime example of how VV chooses its candidates,” said Ladislav Bílý, chair of the Roma Civic Association in Karlovy Vary.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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