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Czech court upholds local election in Vítkovice municipal department of Ostrava

Ostrava, 11.11.2014 23:16, (ROMEA)
A voting urn in the Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  cs.wikipedia, Ludek
A voting urn in the Czech Republic. (PHOTO: cs.wikipedia, Ludek

The local elections in the Vítkovice municipal department of Ostrava have now been certified. Yesterday the Regional Court in Ostrava rejected a lawsuit filed by Romani leader Josef Stojka over alleged vote-buying there.  

The court ruled that it had not been proven that the results of the vote had been influenced by any illegal activity. The decision has taken effect.  

Allegations that votes were being bought in Vítkovice were made before the elections. In addition to Stojka's lawsuit, another suit was filed by a specific individual over the claims.

The court said it was necessary to prove both that the votes had been bought and how that had influenced the outcome of the vote and the balance of power on the local council. "The court is of the opinion that the elections could not have been influenced. The witnesses did not present specific information about concrete individuals accepting money. Everything that was presented was general and vague," the judge said in her justification of the decision in that case.

The judge went on to say that Mr Stojka's motion had been more concrete, but that the actual evidence concerned 10 voters at the most. "That would not have been enough to influence the elections," the judge said.

"Justice has not prevailed. It's not my role to evaluate the outcome of the trial," Stojka said after hearing the verdict.

Petr Dlabal (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD), who has been re-elected mayor of the municipal department, is satisfied with the outcome. "I'm glad that our system doesn't run on hearsay," he said.

The elections in Vítkovice were won by ČSSD. The party won four seats on the 15-member council.

The "More for Vítkovice" Association (Více pro Vítkovice) came in second with three seats. Third place went to the Civic Democrats (ODS), the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) and the Ostravan (Ostravak) movement.

Each of those parties will hold two seats. The We are Ostrava association (Jsme Ostrava) and the Vítkovice Political Movement (Politické Hnutí Vítkovice) will each have one representative on the council.  

The lawsuit was just one of several concerning municipalities in the Moravian-Silesian and Olomouc Regions to be reviewed and rejected by the Regional Court. A representative of the Movement of the Socially Vulnerable (Hnutí sociálně slabých) did not succeed with a motion to repeat the elections in the town of Karlova Studánka, and elections will also not be repeated in Kopřivná, Krnov, Razová, Liptáni, Uhřičice, Štramberk, Vernířovice, Bohuňovice, Hranice, Majetín or the Ostrava-Jih municipal department.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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