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Czech bureaucrat who compared Roma to jellyfish resigns from Social Democrats

30.11.2017 7:31
Karel Novotný of the Czech Social Democratic Party and his racist post to Facebook published on 14 September 2017.
Karel Novotný of the Czech Social Democratic Party and his racist post to Facebook published on 14 September 2017.

Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Karel Novotný, who is also a local assembly member in Most, recently became notorious for comparing Romani people to jellyfish in a Facebook post. He has since resigned from the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD).

News server Aktuálně.cz reported the news on 18 November. Novotný apologized for his remarks and was punished by the ministry, which gave him an official warning and suspended his salary for three months.

On 27 November the Czech News Agency reported that they had been unable to reach him for comment. The deputy minister had previously told Aktuálně.cz he would be leaving the party and would not be joining any other.

"I am still an assembly member and councilor in Most, I will complete that term, but after that I do not want to be involved in politics any longer," he said.

"I will focus on my field and on what I enjoy," the deputy minister said. He did not want to comment to the news server on whether his resignation from the party is connected with his racist remarks.

Novotný made the remarks when commenting on a page belonging to the group "Angry Mothers" (Naštvané matky) to the effect that "Gypsies are like jellyfish - poisonous and good for nothing". Czech Industry and Trade Minister Jiří Havlíček (ČSSD) condemned and sanctioned the deputy minister's actions.

The deputy minister then apologized for his behavior. He has been a member of the party since 1998 and from 2010 - 2014 was Deputy Mayor of Most.

In February 2014 he became Deputy Industry and Trade Minister, responsible for the section on entrepreneurship and consumer protection. During last month's elections he ran for the lower house in 13th place on the party's candidate list in the Ústecký Region.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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