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Czech elections: Vote-buying suspected in poor community, Roma not involved

26.10.2017 6:25
The results of the elections to the Czech lower house in 2013 in Krupka. Vote-buying there has been alleged during local races.
The results of the elections to the Czech lower house in 2013 in Krupka. Vote-buying there has been alleged during local races.

On 19 October the news server HlídacíPes.org ("watchdog.org") reported suspicions that ballots were being manipulated yet again in the North Bohemian town of Krupka ahead of last weekend's elections to the Czech lower house. News server Romea.cz followed up and learned that apparently Romani residents of the community were not involved this time.

Vote-buying has happened in Krupka before to such an extent that local elections have had to be repeated. HlídacíPes.org reported that police were called to the local football stadium to investigate reports that ballot manipulation was underway there.

"The suspicion of vote-buying in Krupka does not involve Roma, but local footballers who allegedly were promised reimbursement of some of their costs in exchange for voting for a specific candidate," Janusz Konieczny, an analyst with the Anticorruption Endowment (Nadační fond proti korupci) told news server Romea.cz. The Czech daily Mf DNES also reported that the Horní Maršov housing estate in Krupka had been visited by men experienced in buying votes.

"My clients told me that this year CZK 300 [EUR 11] is being offered per vote," said Miroslav Brož, a social worker with the local Konexe association. Konieczny commented on those allegations to Romea.cz as well: "That report [from Horní Maršov] was confirmed to me by two people as just a rumor, nothing more."

"We have not managed to discover who the source of that rumor is," Konieczny said. "We found that the source is just 'I heard' and people keep reiterating it."

"For the time being the information [from Horní Maršov] is not backed up by evidence," the analyst said. In previous years cases of vote-buying have been documented in several Czech towns (Český Těšín, Jirkov u Chomutova, Krupka, Most, Roudnice nad Labem).

The vast majority of transgressions have happened in northern Bohemia. After the local elections in 2014 some new localities were added to the list: Bílina, Brno-sever municipality in Moravia, and Chomutov.

2017 lower house results in Krupka

At the Maršov housing estate in Krupka, where according to estimates by the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion about 70 % of the residents are Romani, voter turnout was around 25 %. That is similar to the 2013 results.

The ANO movement won comfortably (34.4 %) ahead of Okamura's SPD (17.5 %). Third place went to ODS (9.8 %), ahead of the Communists (9.2 %).

ryz, agw, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Crime, Elections 2017, vote-buying, Kauza



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