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June 30, 2022



Czech MP Okamura (SPD) to lose lower house vice-chair post because of his hatemongering, according to Civic Democratic Party member

14.10.2021 10:04
The Czech politician Tomio Okamura, whose
The Czech politician Tomio Okamura, whose "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) party is calling itself a "Patriotic Movement" in this campaign photo. (PHOTO: Aktron / Wikimedia Commons)

Czech MP Tomio Okamura apparently will no longer be a vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, according to a source who spoke with the Hospodářské noviny (HN) newspaper and is familiar with the negotiations as to who will occupy which posts in the leadership of the newly-elected lower house, and extremists are also not wanted in the leadership of the lower house by the chair of the TOP 09 party, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, which is part of the Spolu coalition that won the Czech elections last weekend. In 2018, the members of parties that are currently forming a governing coalition - Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), some members of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Mayors and Independents (STAN), the Pirates and TOP 09 - attempted to remove Okamura as a vice-chair of the lower house because of the remarks he made about the concentration camp at Lety u Písku, which imprisoned Romani people before sending them to Auschwitz. 

"We aren't counting on including extremists, so that's easy," a member of STAN said about Okamura's vice-chair post in the newly-elected lower house, according to HN. Another source claiming to be familiar with negotiations as to who will lead the lower house told the newspaper that "It decidedly will not be Okamura or anybody else from the SPD." 

A highly-placed member of the ODS told HN that Okamura "Disseminates hatred among people, incites them against different minorities, his opinions are xenophobic and racist. Such a person should never have been in the leadership of the lower house and has no business being there now." 

All of the politicians who were contacted by HN asked to remain anonymous because the assigning of leadership posts to specific people is not being negotiated officially yet. Adamová, the chair of TOP 09, was more communicative than these sources and also expressed herself clearly at a press conference on Tuesday. 

"We have never supported extremists in the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies," the TOP 09 chair declared. Petr Fiala (ODS), the leader of the winning Spolu coalition in last weekend's elections, was asked directly during a press conference Wednesday whether Okamura would be a vice-chair of the lower house, but did not give a clear answer. 

"The leadership of the lower house should be established on the principle of proportional representation," Fiala said. "We do not yet know how many members the leadership of the lower house will have."

"It has been known about me for quite some time that I am not an adherent of the idea that a party expressing radical opinions could be in the leadership of such a democratic body, but this is a matter for more discussion," Fiala said. Czech MP Marek Benda (ODS), who has been re-elected to the lower house more than once, also left himself an escape hatch on this issue when he appeared recently on the "Aréna Jaromíra Soukupa" television program.

"If we will have five vice-chairs of the lower house, then apparently the SPD will have a vice-chairmanship, but if we just have four, then the SPD will not have a vice-chairmanship," he said during the Barrandov cable channel program. In 2018, members of these then-opposition parties said they wanted to remove the SPD chair from his function as a vice-chair of the lower house after he falsely declared that the concentration camp at Lety u Písku, which imprisoned Romani people before their deportation to Auschwitz, had not been guarded most of the time and that the inmates had been able to come and go freely from the facility. 

"Tomio Okamura, through his remarks, has cast doubt on the cruel conditions and deaths at the Lety camp," said recently re-elected Czech MP Olga Richterová, first vice-chair of the Pirates, in a press release at the time. "If Mr Okamura knows what kind of horrors happened at Lety, and if he is making these remarks to test how far he can go, that is probably more serious than if he were actually ignorant of the facts."

"After all, he is not just representing himself and his party in this office, but the entire representative assembly as well," Richterová said in the press release at the time. The agenda of the extraordinary session during which Okamura's removal was scheduled for discussion was never approved back then, and he was kept in the vice-chair seat by most of the ANO MPs, the communists, and naturally by the SPD.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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