Czech Interior Minister says migrants are "not an issue" in the Czech Republic
Czech voters are mainly interested in parties that address the full spectrum of political issues, not in those that are narrowly focused just on the topic of migration, for example. That is the assessment of Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD), who made his remarks during a discussion about democracy.
Chovanec bases that assessment on the fact that narrowly-focused parties have not exceeded single digits in public opinion polls for quite some time. "All the parties that have exclusively focused on the migration issue are on the edge of scoring just one, two, or three percent of voter preferences. I believe Czechs want parties that address the entire spectrum of their lives," he said.
The Interior Minister believes migration is not a strong topic for any party in the country. "At a time when there is a total of about 130 migrants in detention facilities in the Czech Republic, this is not an issue at the current time," he said.
Chovanec said the recent outcome of the Austrian presidential elections was a big moment. During last weekend's second round of voting, Norbert Hofer, the candidate for the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria, was narrowly defeated.
Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated Hofer by several tens of thousands of votes. "Whoever believes this has ended because the more acceptable candidate has been elected is naive, though - the other half of the electorate will not disappear by waving a magic wand," the Czech Interior Minister said.
Chovanec also said gpvernments being open about information can especially support democracy and freedom. "It is necessary to give people answers to their questions, to flexibly respond to disinformation and to these peculiar websites that are tendentiously disseminating propaganda," he said.
Extremism and propaganda striving to weaken faith in democratic institutions and the state cannot be stopped through repression alone, the Interior Minister said. That is the role of the democratic parties, the entire political scene, and the state, he believes.
Czech MP Helena Langšádlová (TOP 09), vice-chair of the lower house's Committee on the EU, has called for vigilance because support is growing for right-wing radical parties in Western Europe as well. "I would like both left-wing and right-wing democratic parties to be seated in the Chamber of Deputies. We must also be generally cautious when it comes to these disinformation campaigns," she said.
Langšádlová said that while such campaigns can come from various parties, currently they are coming from Russia in particular. A recent study by Political Capital, a think tank in Hungary, has documented the Kremlin connections of the Hungarian far-right and its use of online communications to spread propaganda.
- Karel Holomek: Migration crisis not new, Roma migrated from Slovakia post-WWII and to Canada post-1989
- Czech Republic: Xenophobic populists criticize Merkel and migration, neo-Nazis throw Molotov cocktails and rocks
- Questions and answers about the 2015 migration crisis: 894 000 refugees and a divided EU
- AEDH calls on African and European leaders to put human rights at the center of migration policies
- UN migration representative: Lack of agreement on refugees risks the European project
- Czech police and soldiers practice protecting borders in case migration wave rises
- Human Rights Watch says Czech debate on migration would cause an uproar if understood in the West
- Former Czech President Klaus launches new petition against immigration
- Commentary: Football still trumps immigration demonstrations for the Czech public
- Czech Republic: Anti-immigration protesters set EU flags on fire
- Czech Republic postpones reception of Syrian children, rejects EU summit on migration
- Czech Republic: Two demos tomorrow, one against "Islamic immigration" and one against xenophobia
- Czech court returns to case of hateful online comments about non-"white" first-graders, but witnesses fail to appear
- Ukraine: Racists attack Romani family of four, setting fire to their home and threatening a pregnant woman with rape
- Sweden: Iconic incident of woman swatting neo-Nazi with her purse was also captured on film
- Germany: Halle terrorist charged with double murder and 68 counts of attempted murder
- Two men in Czech Republic indicted for approving of neo-Nazi terrorism in Christchurch, New Zealand
- Germany: Extremist group in the AfD party says it is dissolving
- Irena Biháriová on developments in Slovakia: Who is really being ostracized?
- Czech and Slovak extremists do their best to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic, attacking the EU and public broadcast media
- Czech lower house committee suspends discussion of stripping ultranationalist MP of immunity from prosecution for xenophobic remarks
- Czech court returns to case of hate speech online targeting non-"white" first-graders
- Slovak elections: Opposition OLaNO wins, no growth in votes for fascist party
- Czech Interior Ministry: Hate speech increased in intensity last year