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Czech Police charge man with vote-buying in Litvínov

Litvínov/Litoměřice , 21.11.2014 21:12, (ROMEA)
The Janov housing estate in Litvínov, where Romani residents have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by the local authority, local media, local police and social workers, property owners and ultra-right political groups for almost a decade. (PHOTO:  Google Maps)
The Janov housing estate in Litvínov, where Romani residents have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by the local authority, local media, local police and social workers, property owners and ultra-right political groups for almost a decade. (PHOTO: Google Maps)

Police have charged a 24-year-old man in Litvínov (Most district) with vote-buying. Regional Police spokesperson Alena Bartošová told the Czech News Agency that detectives say the man offered money and a party with free refreshments to dozens of socially vulnerable people in exchange for their votes.

Litvínov has already seated its new council, as no one filed suit over the electoral results. "A 24-year-old man from Teplice district has been charged with committing the crime of interfering with the preparations for and course of an election or referendum. Detectives say he offered dozens of people a certain amount of money and an invitation to a party with free refreshments in exchange for their casting a vote for a particular political party," Bartošová told the Czech News Agency, adding that should he be convicted, the man faces sentencing of between six months to three years in prison.        

Police say the man offered residents of the Janov housing estate CZK 200 for each vote. A Romani party was held at a local club on the first day of the local elections where the alleged vote-buying is said to have been agreed.  

Officers patrolled the area around the club and randomly checked the identification of those arriving for the party. "Beverages and food were free of charge. We asked who was organizing it and if we needed to contibute any money. They said no. We didn't see any vote-buying," a participant told the Czech News Agency previously.  

The Czech Social Democrats (ČSSD) won the elections in the two precincts at the Janov housing estate with 47.2 and 58.28 % of the votes respectively. The party's results for Litvínov overall were 13.66 %.      

Possible vote-buying was rumored to have taken place in Litvínov in 2010, but the allegations were never proved. Meanwhile, a court in the town of Litoměřice has already convicted a 50-year-old man of vote-buying and sentenced him to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

The indictment said the man from the Litoměřice area offered three people living at the Lovosická residential hotel for the socially vulnerable a ride to the polling place and CZK 500 to vote for a certain group. According to the police investigation, those he approached rejected his offer.  

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Komunální, vote-buying, Volby 2014, vyloučená lokalita



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