Czech Republic: Romani members of LEV 21 party disapprove of it partnering with ultra-right in fall elections
On 25 May, the National Socialists-LEV 21 party announced it would be holding a press conference to announce its collaboration with the Workers Social Justice Party (DSSS), an idea that was first announced during the 1 May demonstration by the DSSS in Ústí nad Labem this year. In addition to Petr Benda, a former MP and former chair of the North Bohemian cell of the Czech Social Democratic Party, who is currently vice-chair, Tomáš Vandas, the chair of the extremist DSSS, was scheduled to attend the press conference.
Vandas will run for Senate the during the elections in the Ústí Region this October. The parties will run candidates in the elections to the Regional Authorities and Senate together.
Romani candidates have previously run on the NS-LEV 21 ticket and currently collaborate with it. "I am Romani and I will never go into collaboration with the Workers' Party," Miroslav Jano, chair of the District Council of the party cell in Česká Lípa, told news server Romea.cz.
Jano said on 25 May that he had learned of the two parties' collaboration on that day. "For Česká Lípa I can say that we definitely do not like the idea of such an alliance. Next week we are having a conference in Prague where I will deliver our standpoint on this," he said.
The strongly nationalist, ultra-right DSSS, infamous for its anti-Romani rhetoric and its convening of anti-Romani protests, has focused in the last year on the topic of the so-called "refugee crisis" as well. The party was created after the court dissolved its predecessor, the Workers' Party (DS), five years ago and will also run Vlastimil Pechanec, who was convicted of the racially-motivated murder of a Romani man, Otto Absolon, in Svitavy, as a candidate this autumn.
Hana Janová, vice-chair of the LEV 21 cell in Česká Lípa, told news server Echo24 that the party's regional organization has probably joined forces with the DSSS in an effort to fill its candidate list come what may. She said her cell would not consider running together with them.
Most of the members of the party's cell in Česká Lípa are Romani. "NS-Lev 21 Česká Lípa will not run with the DSSS, we won't even consider it. Today at our meeting with the Liberec Regional chair we will agree on what to do next. We can't meddle with what has already been negotiated for the Ústí Region," Stanislav Vondráček, chair of the local organization, confirmed to news server Romea.cz on 25 May.
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