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Czech mayor expelled from STAN party for talking about shooting Romani people put together an independent list for the elections, Christian Democrats have joined it

15.8.2022 7:19
Jaroslav Červinka (left) and Marian Jurečka (right) (Collage: Romea.cz)
Jaroslav Červinka (left) and Marian Jurečka (right) (Collage: Romea.cz)

The Independent Candidates of Poděbrady (Nezávislí kandidáti Poděbrady) list for this fall's local elections in Poděbrady, Czech Republic, created by Mayor Jaroslav Červinka, includes members of the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), which is part of the national coalition government. Červinka created the list after the leadership of the "Mayors and Independents" (STAN), of which he was a member at the time, criticized him for his racist remarks about Romani people.    

The chair of the KDU-ČSL, Marian Jurečka, condemns those remarks, but is also saying the list is not managed by his party and that it is the choice of those members themselves which list to run on. During a June meeting of the local assembly, Červinka recounted the time he was reprimanded by the district authority decades ago.    

The mayor said he had been reprimanded for remarks he made after a traffic accident in 2001 that was allegedly caused by dogs that were allegedly owned by a Romani man. "... 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," he recounted.

When giving an explanation of his remarks to police at the time, Červinka rejected the idea that he has racist tendencies or would actually want to shoot Romani people. He has since apologized for his words. 

Jurečka: I condemn Červinka's words, but his candidate list is not under KDU-ČSL control

"I condemn the words of Mr. Červinka, they are unacceptable to me and I myself would never make such a statement, if for no other reason than that I have many friends among our Romani fellow-citizens. I myself am involved in improving the image of the Romani community, e.g., through my social media postings. One example is the barber shop in Olomouc that is successful. Moreover, I have long collaborated with Romani organizations," Jurečka told news server Romea.cz. 

The Christian Democratic chair then said that the candidate list at issue is an independent one, not a KDU-ČSL one, in Poděbrady. "If our members are running on that candidate list, then that is their choice. They themselves know politics in their region. However, I regret the fact that the candidate list is being led by a person who said such things. Generally the entire situation around Mr. Červinka is regrettable," Jurečka said; Romea.cz has learned there are four KDU-ČSL members on the candidate list headed by Červinka, such as the regional manager of the party for the Central Bohemian Region, Petr Dvořák.

KDU-ČSL regional manager: I know Červinka personally, he doesn't want to discriminate against anybody

Dvořák also said that he regrets the anti-Romani remarks made by the candidate list leader. "The remarks made by Mr. Jaroslav Červinka are genuinely unfortunate and I regret that he expressed himself that way to his fellow citizens," Dvořák told news server Romea.cz, adding that he is glad the mayor apologized for the remarks.  

"I have known him personally for many years and I am convinced that he does not want to discriminate against any of his fellow citizens in any way. He has spent 24 years in local politics and a great deal of work has been done by him to benefit the citizens, which they demonstrated by supporting the petition for his independent candidate list," Dvořák said when asked why he believes it is in order for KDU-ČSL members to join the list.

"I have known Mr. Jaroslav Červinka personally for many years, he made that remark in a situation that was tense, which is no excuse, he should never have said it and I do not agree with speaking that way," Dvořák told news server Romea.cz when asked why he himself had accepted a place on the list. Červinka originally ran as the lead candidate for the STAN movement's list, but after making his racist remarks, the Nymburk district cell of that party called on him not to run for re-election on their list.   

The chair of the STAN movement at the national level, Vít Rakušan, said that if Červinka did not withdraw he would be removed, and the supervisory board of the movement also filed a motion to suspend Červinka's membership. In response, the mayor created a new candidate list called the Independent Candidates of Poděbrady (Nezávislí kandidáti Poděbrady).  

Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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antigypsyism, Czech Christian Democrats, Election, Extremism



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