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May 18, 2022



Czech regional elections: One Romani candidate for the Pirates will be seated

4.10.2020 7:27
Karel Karika (2020)
Karel Karika (2020)

At least eight Romani candidates sought election in the regional and Senate elections in the Czech Republic that ended yesterday at 14:00. The only one to win a seat on a Regional Assembly is Karel Karika, running for the Pirate Party.

Karika won preferential votes from 703 voters. The Pirates are the first party seated in Parliament in history to run a Romani candidate as the leader of their list in a regional contest.

The Pirates won six seats on the Ústecký Regional Assembly. Candidates running there for the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" movement of Tomio Okamura, who is infamous for his anti-Romani, xenophobic remarks, were not elected.

The only Romani candidate for the Senate, Cyril Koky (Pirates) was not seated and ended up in sixth place with 4 173 votes (9.32 % of the vote with 100 % of the votes counted). The second round in the Kolín precinct where he ran will now be held between the first-place candidate for the Mayors and Independents (STAN), Pavel Kárník, and the second-place candidate for ANO 2011, Igor Karen.

The winner of the regional elections nationwide is the ANO 2011 movement, which won the most votes in 10 regions with a total of 21.86 % of the vote, but compared to the 2016 elections, the party gained just two more seats on regional assemblies, now holding 178 regional seats nationwide. In the Liberec Region, a party called "Mayors for the Liberec Region" (Starostové pro Liberecký kraj) won with 38.55 % of the vote, earning 22 seats regionally, while the Central Bohemian Region was won by STAN, which gained 16 more regional seats than in 2016 and has a total of 40 now.

In the Hradec Králové Region, a coalition of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the "East Bohemians" (Východočeši) and STAN won 23.54 % of the regional votes. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) will not be seated at all in nine of the country's 13 regional assemblies.

The Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) may not be seated at all in five regions. Representation in all regional assemblies, on the other hand, should be earned by the Pirates, who won a total of 91 seats nationwide.

Four years ago the Pirates succeeded in just one region on their own and in two running together with the Greens, which makes this a significant gain for them. The SPD movement should end up with stand-alone representatives on nine regional assemblies.

The SPD won a total of 6.14 % of the vote and will seat 35 regional assembly members nationwide. This year's regional elections saw one Romani candidate in the Karlovy Vary Region, two in the Liberec Region, one in the Moravian-Silesian Region and four in the Ústecký Region, two of whom ran for the SPD movement.

Karel Karika wins running for the Pirates

Karika, who works for Caritas in the Ústecký Region as the head of the St. Materna Home in Ústí nad Labem and who holds the František Kriegel Award from the Charter 77 Foundation, will become a regional assembly member there after winning 698 preferential votes. He had been the Pirate candidate for Governor.

The Pirate Party won a total of six seats in the Ústecký Region, 10.8 % of the vote, and are in fourth place, while ANO holds 17 seats, ODS holds eight and STAN holds seven. In the Moravian-Silesian Region, Romani candidate Cyril Koky of Frýdek-Místek ran in the regional contest for the Pirate Party.

A project designer in the energy industry who has just launched a business, Koky ran in 29th place on the list; the Pirates will hold nine seats on the regional assembly there after winning 11.85 % of the vote. ANO won 24 seats in the Moravian-Silesian Region, followed by ODS running in coalition with TOP 09, who scored 10 regional assembly seats.

Change (Změna): Two Romani candidates in the Liberec Region

The "Change for People and for the Landscape" (Změna pro lidi a pro krajinu) movement ran two Romani candidates in the Liberec Region. Ninth place on their list was held by Romani community member Marcel Fabián Grünza of Liberec.

Grünza is an entrpreneur who has also dedicated himself to social work for years and who opened a drop-in center in Liberec. The other Romani candidate for the movement there, running in 32nd place, was the computer graphic designer and photographer Ondřej Kači of Liberec.

"Change" won just 1.52 % of the vote this year and will not be seated in the regional assembly. The winner of this year's contest in the Liberec Region is the political movement called "Mayors for the Liberec Region" (Starostové pro Liberecký kraj), which will hold 22 seats, followed by ANO 2011 with 10 seats, ODS with five and the Pirates with five.

SPD and "A Better North" (Lepší Sever) run two Romani candidates, another runs just for "A Better North"

Two Romani people also ran for the SPD, including the only female Romani candidate, Andrea Kuchtová, a businesswoman from Krupka, who ran in the Ústecký Region in 13th place. She is vice-chair of the local SPD club in Krupka.

Ondřej Tancoš, a staffer at a children's home in Krupka, ran in that same region for the SPD in 40th place. The SPD won five seats on the regional assembly there, but neither Romani candidate was seated; voter turnout was said to be 31.26 %.

Romani candidate Julius Turko, a businessman and former municipal police officer in Litvínov, ran in 26th place (next-to-last) for the coalition called "A Better North", which brought together politicians from the ProMost ("For Most") movement (e.g., the Mayor of Most Jan Paprega, who wants to install "container housing" at the Chanov housing estate) and the Ústecký Citizens Forum (Ústecké fórum občanů - UFO), etc. "A Better North" won just four regional seats, which is why Turko will not be joining the assembly.

The Green Party runs one Romani candidate in the Karlovy Vary Region

Emil Voráč ran in ninth place on the Green Party list in the Karlovy Vary Region; the longterm director of the Khamoro public benefit corporation, which provides social services regionally, will not be seated on the regional assembly because the party did not win any seats and did not even win 1 % of the vote. ANO won in the Karlovy Vary Region with 13 seats, followed by STAN with eight and the Pirates with six.

Roma have long lacked representation in high politics

Compared to the previous regional elections in 2016, the number of Romani candidates fell significantly. According to news server, in 2016 there were at least 43 Roma running.

More than half of those candidates (23) were running for the Roma Democratic party alone. Another approximately 20 Romani people ran for various other parties.

Four years ago Romani candidates ran for ČSSD, the Green Party in coalition with the Pirates, the National Socialists - LEV 21, and ODS. None were elected.

The Roma have long lacked any significant representation on the Czech political map. Nobody has represented the Romani community in Parliament for 20 years.

One of the last Romani representatives elected to the Chamber of Deputies at the turn of the millenium was Monika Horáková (today Monika Mihaličková), who was elected on the now-defunct Freedom Union (Unie svobody) candidate list. The Green Party was the first larger mainstream party to offer places to more than one Romani candidate.

In 2010, for example, the leader of the candidate list for the Green Party in the Pardubice Region was Lucie Horváthová (today Lucie Fuková). In the year 2013 the Green Party ran nine Romani candidates in the early parliamentary elections.

At the local level, the situation has improved for Romani office holders since the 2018 elections. There are 13 Romani local assembly members around the country.

A record number of Romani candidates ran for local office in 2018. News server found at least 170 such candidates, but according to other estimates there could have been as many as 300.

bys, jal, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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