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November 16, 2018
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Czech elections: 13 Romani local assembly members, no Romani senators

7.10.2018 11:31
Local elections in the Czech Republic: 5 October 2018 in the Předlice quarter of Ústí nad Labem. (PHOTO: ČTK)
Local elections in the Czech Republic: 5 October 2018 in the Předlice quarter of Ústí nad Labem. (PHOTO: ČTK)

Yesterday at 14:00 polls closed in the Czech Republic after voters had the opportunity to choose their local assembly members and, in one-third of the country, 27 Senators. News server Romea.cz has followed the results in selected municipalities with larger numbers of Romani candidates who stood a reasonable chance of election.

A minimum of 170 men and women who identify as Romani ran for office this time. According to broader, unverified estimates, however, there could have been as many as 300 Romani candidates.

One self-identified Romani man ran for the Senate in Chomutov, Petr Jano. The Romani Democratic Party in Brno also ran a candidate for the Senate named Petr Erin Kováč, president of the Culinary Club and a professional chef.

Neither of those candidates was elected to the Senate. As of 8:48 this morning, a total of 13 local representatives have been elected who are Romani men and women.

The most successful Romani candidate was Karel Karika, who won seats both on the local assembly of the Ústí nad Labem-město Municipal Department and on the Ústí nad Labem City Council. Others elected are Martin Čonka (Cheb), Marian Dancso (Lom), Pavel Červenický (Milhostov), Radek Cina (Milhostov), René Zubko (Mimoň), Jiří Daniel (Olomučany), Oto Váradi (Ralsko), Monika Berkyová (Stříbro), Ján Bajger (Trmice), Martin Bajger (Trmice) and Renata Adamová (Chomutov). In addition to these successful candidates, many hopefuls were not elected.

David Beňák, who ran in second place for the Prague 14 Municipal Department for the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), won just 4.44 % of the vote and, surprisingly, will not be seated on the local assembly there. In the Prague 5 Municipal Department, the Green Party earned just 4.59 % of the vote, which means that fourth-place Romani candidate Anna Chválová was not seated on the local assembly there.

None of the Romani candidates running in Brno won either. Robin Stria came the closest, running in seventh place on the Green Party candidate list for the Brno-střed Municipal Department.

The Greens managed to secure just four local assembly members there, however. In the Brno Senate race, Kováč (RDS) came in next-to-last, with 0.73 % of the vote (216 voters).

Romani Senate candidate Petr Jano ended last in Chomutov with 1.83 % of the vote (581 voters). However another Romani candidate was successful in running for local office there.

Renata Adamová ran in ninth place on the ANO movement's candidate list in Chomutov. The movement won 10 seats on the Chomutov local assembly with 25.13 % of the vote.

The Romani Democratic Party (RDS) candidate list in two Municipal Departments of Ostrava failed to secure any seats despite running full candidate lists. In the Vítkovice Municipal Department, RDS won 2.67 % of the vote, which means that of the 583 ballots cast for 15 candidates, just 40 chose the RDS party.

Josef Stojka, the leader of the RDS candidate list there, won the most votes, followed by third-place candidate Viliam Čonka, who earned 43 votes. The party's results in the Municipal Department of Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz were similar - 0.2 % of voters chose it, with most people voting for the leader of the candidate list, Elena Gorolová (76 votes).

In Ústí nad Labem, the PRO! Ústí (FOR! Ústí) party ran Romani candidate Karel Karika in seventh place, where the party ultimately won 16.97 % of the vote and nine seats on the Ústí nad Labem City Council. ANO scored the most votes there (20.65 % and nine seats), the Ústí Civic Forum (Ústecké fórum občanů - UFO - 11.78 % and five seats) came in third, and three seats went to the xenophobic "Freedom and Direct Democracy Party of Tomio Okamura" (SPD), while the"Clean Ústí" candidate list led by right-wing extremist Tomáš Vandas failed to place at all.

In Cheb, Romani lawyer Martin Čonka is now seated on the local assembly. He ran in sixth place for the victorious "Vote for the Town of Cheb" movement, which won 45.22 % of the vote and 17 seats.

Karel Karika also led the PRO! Ústí party to electoral victory in the Ústí nad Labem - město Municipal Department, with 23.6 % of the vote and eight seats. Second place went to the ANO movement (21.28 %), while third place went to UFO, which won four seats - Romani candidate Tibor Gaži ran in sixth place for them and will therefore not be seated.

Another Romani local assembly member was elected in the municipality of Olomučany. Jiří Daniel was the lead candidate of the ČSSD there.

Romani candidate Oto Váradi led the SNK European Democrats (SNKED) to victory in Ralsko. The party won with 24.74 % ahead of the ANO movement, which earned 17.65 % of the vote.

René Zubko has been elected to the local assembly in Mimoň. The Romani candidate ran in third place for the "Mimoň Revival" (Mimoňská obroda) group, which came in second with 29.72 % of the vote and six seats.

Two more Romani local assembly members were elected in Trmice, a father and son from the Bajger family. The PRO! Trmice (FOR! Trmice) group, which ran a total of 13 Romani candidates, ended up in third place with 15.03 % of the vote.

Martin Bajger won his seat thanks to the preferential votes cast for him. In the final result he moved from fifth place on the list up to second place, immediately after his father, who was the lead candidate.

In Stříbro the Romani candidate Monika Berkyová has been elected to the local assembly. The Pirate Party, on whose list she ran, ended up in fourth place with 8.56 % of the vote and a single seat.

Berkyová managed to win that seat due to preferential votes, 405 of which moved her from second place to the front-runner position. The original lead candidate, Daniela Nová, only received 281 preferential votes.

Romani candidates were not elected in the municipality of Vintířov. Their Association of Independent Candidates for Common Coexistence (Sdružení nezávislých kandidátů za společné soužití) won 7.35 % of the vote, not enough for a seat.

In the community of Lom, near Most, Romani candidate Marián Dancso was elected to the local assembly. His Citizens for the Town, Town for the Citizens movement (Občané městu, město občanům) came in last with 6.26 % of the vote, enough for a single seat.

Romani voting patterns within larger cities are also interesting to follow - electoral precinct 1014 includes the Předlice quarter of the city of Ustí nad Labem, a socially excluded locality that is not its own Municipal Department. Voter turnout in the Předlice locality was just 14.9 %.

The UFO party won there overwhelmingly. UFO, which came in third place for the Ustí nad Labem City Council contest, was chosen by 76.45 % of voters from Předlice.

Just 6.4 % of those voting in precinct 1014 chose PRO! Ústí. In the elections for the Ustí nad Labem - město Municipal Department, UFO won 64.9 % of the vote, with PRO! Ústí (17.22 %) coming in second.

In Milhostov, two seats will now be held by local Romani residents running for the ČSSD, which won 70.47 % of the vote there. Romani Mayor Pavel Červenický was re-elected and Radek Cina will sit on the local assembly.

At the Chanov housing estate, a socially excluded area which is voting precinct number 20 in the city of Most, the ProMOST ("For Most") movement won with 71.52 % of the vote. Second place went to the Communists, with 17.72 %.

In local elections there in 2010 and 2014, the "Association of Most Residents for Most" won overwhelmingly among Chanov voters. After conducting its recent anti-Romani campaign, however, that association scored just 1.91 % of the vote at Chanov where, compared to previous years, voter turnout hit a record high of 22.24 %.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Election to Senate 2018, Local elections 2018, Roma, Romani candidates



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