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Czech MP, embittered by his party's loss, curses news server and Roma in general

23.10.2017 6:20
Jaroslav Foldyna (2017) (PHOTO: Aktron / Wikimedia Commons)
Jaroslav Foldyna (2017) (PHOTO: Aktron / Wikimedia Commons)

Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna, whose Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) has suffered an enormous electoral defeat, has made racist verbal attacks against Romani people in the Czech Republic. He has also made vulgar remarks about the news server.

Foldyna's reaction to the elections this past weekend is a continuation of his anti-Romani campaign rhetoric. According to some observers, the party's deflection away from defending human rights and the activity of fascisizing politicians on its ticket in particular is one of the causes of the Social Democrats' electoral failure.

Foldyna:  We should have reached out even more to Okamura's voters

Foldyna said the entire leadership of the party, with the exception of [Czech Interior Minister] Milan Chovanec, should resign at an extraordinary congress, . The MP believes the party should have done more to win over voters who cast ballots for Okamura's "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) party.

"I do not believe it is necessary to call any voters pejorative names, including those who voted for Okamura and the SPD. They are people who were looking for answers to their questions and did not find them in us," he told news server after refusing to answer a question about whether he could imagine collaborating with the SPD in the same government.

Foldyna said he could imagine discussing issues with SPD voters. "His voters are not negative, in my view, not in any way. I must make sure the voter comprehends me, not call him a nationalist and a xenophobe when he is a patriot, which is something else," he told

Foldyna:  "Romani people abuse the welfare system"

Speaking to the tabloid news server Parlamentní listy, Foldyna continued his anti-Romani campaign rhetoric, openly attacking Romani people and labeling them all "welfare abusers". The tabloid, which very frequently gives space to anti-Romani rhetoric, quoted him as follows:  "It is necessary to say this fully:  Romani people are abusing the social welfare system."

Speaking just before the polls opened on Friday, the MP said Romani people are currently abusing the foster care system. "Romani people are becoming foster parents within the framework of their own extended families," he alleged.

"On the other hand, you have foster parents who are caring for disabled children, and they actually need that aid, naturally. Nobody, however, is checking to see whether somebody might be making money out of the fact that Romani people leave a daughter with a relative and [the aid] 'stays in the family'," Foldyna said.

The MP added that while it is legal for people to adopt or foster a child who is a relative, in his view that approach constitutes "abuse" of the system. Romani people, whom Foldyna also calls "inadaptables", are managing to exploit the fostering laws to their benefit, in his view.

Foldyna: "pisses me off"

The MP then made a vulgar attack on news server and on nonprofit organizations working with the Romani minority. " is pissing me off," he said in his interview for Parlamentní listy, adding:  "That server gives room to Romani people to say vulgar things about the majority, and by doing so it just sparks tensions against Roma. Some nonprofits are grossly exploiting social problems. Romea exploits the issue of Romani people and makes a living out of the escalation of tensions between the majority society and Romani people."

The MP's remarks were not well-received, and not just among Romani people. "I anticipated that these accusations would be made against Romani people, that it is they who are especially to blame for the election results. I believed the politicians would disappoint me again this year, but every year, on a regular basis, some 'brown shirt' has to speak up," said Pavel Botoš, a Czech-speaking Romani community member who now lives in the UK.

"Isn't [the election loss] rather because Sobotka delayed implementing the public benefit work program and the ČSSD rested on its laurels? Isn't it rather that the politicians with the ČSSD, for quite some time now, have turned away from citizens' needs and somehow forgotten (overlooked) public opinion? It is exactly puppets like Foldyna or Chovanec who caused your downfall," Botoš posted online.

Jan Černý, head of the social integration program for the People in Need organization in the Czech Republic, also responded ironically to Foldyna's words. "That is the rhetoric that Jarda [Foldyna] planted and Pitomio [a nickname for Okamura] reaped, and as long as the socialists have protofascists as their leaders (some of whom are also promoters of Greater Serbia) then a socially oriented voter will never choose the Social Democrats, because why would he vote for people who are actually fascist? Whoever wants to vote for fascists, moreover, will not vote for a mild version of them. Unfortunately, this is coming straight from [Foldyna's] heart, it's not a cold calculation like it is from [Okamura]. That's what makes it even more terrible," Černý posted to Facebook, referencing the fact that Foldyna has spread conspiracy theories alleging that the massacre at Srebrenica was "planned" by its victims. that he is actively opposed to an independent Kosovo, and that he has also organized commemorations honoring the Serbian assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The ROMEA organization, which runs the news server, will respond to the defamatory remarks by Foldyna once the interview with him is published in full as the tabloid indicated it would do. The MP ran as the leader of the party's candidate list in the Ústecký Region.

The Social Democrats absolutely failed in that region, winning just 6.61 % of the vote, less than the average outcome for the party countrywide of 7.27 %. Foldyna earned 2 391 preferential votes and is the only candidate from the region to be seated in the lower house.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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