Czech regional elections. Romani candidate for LEV21, Miroslav Jano: I don't like combining with the ultra-right, after this I'm out
On Friday, 7 October and Saturday, 8 October, citizens of the Czech Republic will vote for regional assembly members and in some regions also for the one-third of the Czech Senate whose electoral terms are expiring. Political parties have also sent several candidates to the regional elections who are of Romani nationality.
This year, political movements and parties have nominated a total of 11 880 candidates for the post of regional assembly member, 576 more than in the 2012 elections. News server Romea.cz estimates that as many as 40 Romani people are running for the regional assemblies this year, and we have reached out to some of them with a request for an interview.
Miroslav Jano is a 40-year-old candidate running in sixth place on the list of the National Socialists-LEV21 party in the Liberec Region. There are also other Romani candidates running in that same region.
Hana Janová, who works for the LAMPA group in Mimoň, 40-year-old Jiří Žiga, and others are on the National Socialists-LEV21 list. The Romani candidates are members of the party's cell in Česká Lípa.
After the Romani Democratic Party (RDS), National Socialists-LEV21 is the party fielding the most Romani candidates in this year's regional elections, but paradoxically, in the Ústecký Region, the chair of the National Socialists-LEV21 party, Petr Benda, has joined forces with the anti-Romani Workers' Social Justice Party (DSSS). Prior to the elections, news server Romea.cz asked Miroslav Jano several questions about this and other issues.
Q: It is very frequently said that Romani people do not vote. Why do you think that is?
A: I don't know, I don't understand it. I believe that Romani people in particular, if they want to change something, should vote no matter what it takes. We have done our best to convince them of that during our campaign in Česká Lípa.
Q: Which do you believe is better for a Romani candidate - to run as a candidate for a "Romani party", or for a party that is not established according to the principle of nationality?
A: Even though I am running for a "non-Romani" party, I believe it is better to be a candidate for a Romani party. This is my third year in the LEV21 party, and that is why I am running on its list.
Q: What are the main points of your electoral program? What will you advocate for if you make it onto the regional assembly?
A: I focus on social problems. We would like to aid all people who have such problems. I know of many cases that are actually horrible. Primarily I want to improve the housing situation. Many people are living in residential hotels with their children. In Česká Lípa there are many unoccupied apartment units that are owned by the town but are not being used to help those in need. We want to improve the economics of how local authorities manage their housing stock. I also want to address crime prevention. On the other hand, I know we will not be seated in the regional assembly.
Q: What is your opinion of the refugee crisis? How should it be addressed, in your view?
A: I really don't know, we haven't even mentioned that in our program.
Q: What is your personal opinion? Do you believe refugees should be aided, or should the borders be closed to them?
A: The state has to address that, the Government. When it comes to closing the borders, it's 50-50. My opinion is that we should choose who will remain here according to how decently they behave. I have nothing against them, they're people too.
Q: Why did you choose the National Socialists-LEV21 party?
A: Four years ago I wasn't doing much of anything and a friend asked whether I would be interested, so I agreed and tried it out.
Q: In the Ústecký Region your party has joined forces with the DSSS.
A: We raised that with them, but it's their region. We don't like it even if we are in the same party as them. We can't speak for that region.
Q: Your party has joined forces with a party that is anti-Romani, though. You want to aid socially vulnerable people, but they call them "inadaptables" and want to expel them from this society.
A: We can't do anything about it, I don't like it. Personally, I'm against it.
Q: Do you believe it will damage your chances as a Romani candidate if you are running for a party that is connected to the anti-Romani DSSS?
A: That problem is not here in the Liberec Region, it's in the Ústecký Region. However, you're right, it can damage us. Basically, my plan is to leave this party. If I'm going to run for office, then it should be for my people. After these elections I don't want to have anything more to do with politics.
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