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Czech Police investigating possible vote-buying in some towns

Litvínov/Lovosice, 10.10.2014 21:51, (ROMEA)
"Municipal elections under the microscope" (Collage: NFPK, Romea.cz)

The Czech Police are investigating possible vote-buying in the towns of Litvínov (Most district) and Lovosice (Litoměřice district). Polcie spokesperson Alena Bartošová told the Czech News Agency that some residents of the Janov housing estate were said to have received offers of financial remuneration for their votes.  

The Czech News Agency reports that the amounts offered were as high as CZK 500. A request from the Romani Democratic Party (Romská demokratická strana - RDS) for more ballots in Ostrava was also reported as very suspicious.

Janov:  Vote-buying related to more than one party

Bartošová did not want to reveal any more information about the vote-buying at Janov because the investigation has just begun. The Janov housing estate is occupied in large part by socially vulnerable people.

The possible vote-buying was confirmed to the Czech News Agency by Mayor of Litvínov Milan Šťovíček (Mayors' and Independents' Movement - STAN). "I heard about that, but I don't have any more information," he told the Czech News Agency.

The alleged vote-buying is not linked to just one particular movement or party, according to the Czech News Agency. Possible vote-buying was rumored in Litvínov in 2010 but was never proven.    

Lovosice: Mayor turns to police

Bartošová said police have also received information about vote-buying from Bílina (Teplice district). In the Ústí Region, Lovosice is the third place where police are investigating suspected vote-buying but have not yet proven it is taking place.  

Mayor of Lovosice Lenka Lízlová (Czech Social Democrats - ČSSD) turned to police over the issue. "I received information about possible attempts to influence the elections from more than one source, which is why I called the police," she told the Czech News Agency earlier.  

Town halls have noted increased interest in ballots in recent days, which residential hotel tenants with permanent residency in a town can retrieve from their local authorities. "That kind of interest is not usual, those people usually don't even pick up their mail," Jana Hejdová, spokesperson for the local authority, told the Czech News Agency.  

Vote-buying suspicions in other towns

News server Romea.cz reported earlier on the suspicious behavior of the RDS in Ostrava. The party has asked bureaucrats in the municipal department of Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz to provide them with 3 000 additional ballots and also contacted the mayor of the municipal department of Vítkovice with a similar request.  

According to David Ondráčka, the director of Transparency International, such a procedure is highly unusual and could indicate an effort to buy votes, but RDS representatives reject such an explanation. Reports of attempts to bribe voters have been noted by nonprofit organizations in Kadaň, Krupka, and the Předlice quarter of Ústí nad Labem. 

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Komunální volby 2014, Korupce, manipulace, podezření



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