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September 29, 2022

 

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Czech local candidates who quit the "Mayors and Independents" party have secured enough signatures to run as independents

19.7.2022 15:47
Mayor of Poděbrady Jaroslav Červinka (left), and the chair of the
Mayor of Poděbrady Jaroslav Červinka (left), and the chair of the "Mayors and Independents" (STAN) movement in the Czech Republic, Vít Rakušan (right) (2022) (Collage: Romea.cz)

Candidates previously running as members of the "Mayors and Independents" (STAN) movement in Poděbrady, Czech Republic, will run in the autumn local elections as the "Independent Candidates of Poděbrady" (Nezávislí kandidáti Poděbrady). They say they have secured enough signatures to register their own candidate list and will be submitting it today on time, the Mayor of Poděbrady and lead candidate Jaroslav Červinka told the Czech News Agency.

The ex-STAN members needed 1,003 signatures to register as independent candidates. The entire list withdrew from STAN after remarks made by Červinka expressing sympathy for the idea of shooting Romani people were criticized by others in the movement.

"We've met the minimum, we will count them up and people keep on arriving with signatures, so we don't yet have an exact number of the people who have supported us," the mayor said before 10 AM today. All 21 STAN candidates have moved to the independent list led by Červinka.   

Candidate registration for the local elections to be held in September ends today at 16:00. The Nymburk district cell of STAN had called on the mayor not to run for re-election last week.  

Speaking over the weekend, the national chair of STAN, Czech Interior Minister and MP Vít Rakušan, said that if the mayor did not withdraw as a candidate, he would be removed. The supervisory board of the STAN movement also filed a motion to suspend his membership.  

The mayor made his remarks while telling a story to a June session of the local assembly about the time he was reprimanded by the district authority. He said he had been reprimanded for remarks he made in the aftermath of a traffic accident in 2001, allegedly caused by dogs that were allegedly owned by a Romani citizen.

"... I then said my memorable sentence that it would be better to shoot them. The cop told me that they should not be shot, that the dogs could not help themselves, and I said I didn't mean it was the dogs who should be shot," the mayor recounted.

According to Červinka, when he subsequently gave an explanation to police about what he meant, he rejected the idea that he is inclined toward racism or that he would want to shoot Romani people. The mayor then apologized for recounting the story in the way that he did. 

The mayor has since said that his remark about Romani people was stupid 20 years ago and is still stupid today. He claims that his emotions got the better of him, as did fatigue, and that he did not mean what he said to sound like it did.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Election, Komunální, Jaroslav Červinka, Racism



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