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Czech lower house elections see 22 groups in the running, no Romani-profiled parties among them

9.8.2021 7:22
Voting in the Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Romea.cz)
Voting in the Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Romea.cz)

In the elections to the Chamber of Deputies in the Czech Republic this year, voters will choose from candidates running for 22 different groups, roughly one-third fewer than during the same elections four years ago. Last time 31 movements and parties submitted candidate lists. 

The Czech News Agency has surveyed regional authorities and Prague City Hall to compile the total number for this year. The deadline for nominations ended on 3 August at 16:00. 

As in previous years, not all groups are fielding candidates in all regions. The Roma Democratic Party (Romská demokratická strana - RDS), the only Romani-profiled party that is officially registered, will not field candidates this year. 

Voters in Prague and in the South Moravian Region will have the biggest selection of candidates to choose from - 21 candidate lists. Voters in the Hradec Králové, Karlovy Vary, Liberec and Ústecký regions, on the other hand, will choose from just 17 candidate lists. 

As anticipated, all parties currently seated in the lower house who have a chance at re-election, according to the polls, have filed candidate lists. ANO, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM), the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) and the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) party are each running independently, while the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), Civic Democrats (ODS) and TOP 09 have created the Spolu ("Together") coalition, and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) and Pirates are running in coalition as well. 

Representatives of the Soukromníky (Privateers), Svobodný (Free) and Trikolóra (Tricolor) parties have formed a single party. The Volný blok ("Free Bloc") candidates would also like to hold onto their lower house seats. 

According to the polls, one of the more favored entities is the new movement Přísaha (Oath), chaired by ex-police officer Robert Šlachta. Another new party is Hnutí Prameny ("The Wellspring Movement"), comprised of the Cesta odpovědné společnosti ("Path to a Responsible Society") and Strana národní svobody ("National Freedom Party"), among others. 

Likewise, the Aliance pro budoucnost ("Alliance for the Future") includes representatives of the Democratic Green Party and Rozumný (The Rationals). Among others, those coalitions will be competing against the Aliance národních sil ("Alliance of National Forces"). 

Newcomers to the national scene include the Otevřeme Česko normálnímu životu movement ("Let's Open Czechia to Normal Life"), which fights against the measures instituted to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the Seniors 21 (Senioři 21) movement, the "Swiss Democracy" movement (Švýcarská demokracie) and a newly-registered anarchist party, Nevolte Urza.cz ("Don't Vote Urza.cz"). Candidate lists have also been submitted by the Greens (Zelení), the Moravians (Moravané), the Moravian Land Movement (Moravské zemské hnutí), the monarchist party Czech Crown (Koruna česká), the Left party (Levice), and the Vote the Right Bloc (Volte Pravý blok) as one of the contestants in the capital.

The Roma Democratic Party is not running

The Roma Democratic Party (RDS) will not be fielding candidates for the lower house this year and also failed to do so in 2017 - in recent years the party has been grappling with problems after failing to submit annual financial reports for 2017 and 2018. In November 2020, the Interior Ministry proposed that the Government file a motion with the Supreme Administrative Court to stop the RDS from conducting political activity. 

RDS most recently fielded candidates for the European Parliament elections in 2019, winning 0.06 % of the vote. In absolute numbers that result means 1 651 voters chose the RDS. 

When the RDS fielded candidates for the lower house in 2013, they won just 609 votes (0.01 %). Others not running are the right-wing extremists from the Workers Social Justice Party (DSSS).

Originally DSSS members were meant to run on the "Free Bloc" list, but ultimately withdrew. Prague City Hall and the regional authorities will now be verifying whether the movements and parties and their candidates fulfill all the requirements of electoral law. 

Candidate lists that meet the requirements will be registered officially on 20 August. The elections will be held on 8 and 9 October.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Election, Politics, Romská demokratická strana , Sněmovna



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