Czech Republic: Romani-profiled parties fail in local elections, ultra-right wins in Duchcov
The results of this weekend's local elections in some socially excluded localities significantly exceeded the average results for certain candidates in the municipalities of which those localities are a part. The greatest success by Romani candidates was scored in Trmice, while other Romani candidates for non-Romani parties are taking council seats elsewhere in the country as well.
Parties profiled as Romani, such as the Equal Opportunities Party (Strana rovných příležitostí - SRP) and the Romani Democratic Party (Romská demokratická strana - RDS), were not successful. The greatest successes by anti-Romani or right-wing extremist parties were scored by the DSSS and Liana Janáčková's Independents; Jiří Čunek also succeeded in Vsetín.
Election results at the Chanov housing estate
Almost 90 % of the residents of the Chanov housing estate in Most voted for the governing "Association of Mosters for Most" (Sdružení Mostečané Mostu). Only slightly more than 14 % of the electorate turned out there, which means 132 people cast votes in Chanov.
Residents of the housing estate originally had their own group running with an almost identical name (Mosters for Most - Mostečané Mostu), but it fell apart just before the elections. The Romani group had been running under the rubric of Jana Volfová's "Association of the Czech Sovereignty Political Party and Independent Candidates".
Volfová said Czech Sovereignty was fulfilling the wishes of a group of Chanov residents who wanted to run as independents and participate in decision-making about the town. "We don't discriminate against anyone. We give an opportunity to anyone who wants to run," she said.
Last year in the runup to the EP elections, Volfová warned against the "Islamicization of Europe" in a populist campaign ad. In 2012 the party (still under the leadership of former boss Jana Bobošíková and called just "Sovereignty") became notorious for its controversial slogan during the campaign in the Ústí Region, "The inadaptables will not dictate to us!"
Election results at the Janov housing estate and in Bílina
Extraordinary results were achieved by the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) at the Janov housing estate. The Volby.cz website has released information about all of the results.
Two election precincts in particular at Janov are of interest: In precinct 4 the ČSSD received 58.28 % of the vote, and in precinct 3 the party received 47.62 % of the vote. In Litvínov as a whole, however, the ČSSD only received 13.66 % of the vote.
Extraordinary results were also reported from two precincts in Bílina (Teplice district) for the Bílinští sociální demokraté (Bílina Social Democrats -BDS). For the municipality as a whole the BDS won 13.18 % of the vote, but in precinct number 8 it won 39.22 % and in precinct number 9, 35.43 % of the vote.
In the town of Kadaň the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) won a convincing 43. 14 % of the vote across all precincts. Second-place ČSSD won 21.20 % of the vote there.
The ČSSD scored its most outstanding successes there in precincts numbers 1, 2 and 3. Results for other parties in those precincts were closer to the average for the municipality as a whole.
In the Předlice quarter of Ústí nad Labem voter turnout only slightly exceeded 6 %. The ANO movement won there with not quite 20 % of the vote.
The phenomenon of Trmice
As news server Romea.cz previously reported, in Trmice the Together for Trmice Movement (Independent Choice) lead by Martin Bajger scored an enormous success. The Romani candidates in Trmice won 19.22 % of the vote, coming in second place, and will hold three seats on the council.
In absolute numbers it means that almost 200 people voted for the Romani candidates. Martin Bajger and Martina Šimková will now become councilors.
Marcel Cichý, who was a successful Romani candidate on the ODS list in 2010, also managed to defend his council seat. He said the success of the Romani candidates surprised him.
"We did not expect such success. We can see that people want change," said Cichý, who believes the group was not chosen only by Romani voters.
"We know we were voted for not just by Romani people, but by people from the majority society. Without their votes the success would not have been this great," Cichý said.
Equal Opportunities Party and the Romani Democratic Party
The RDS did not succeed in the local elections, not even in Ostrava, where it conducted its biggest campaign and enjoyed its strongest position. The party received just 0.68 % of the vote there.
In absolute numbers, that means the RDS received 23 619 votes - which of course does not mean that 23 619 individuals voted for them. That is the number of votes cast both for the party as a whole and for individual candidates across party lines.
Each voter in the Czech local elections was able to cast votes for more than one electoral grouping, movement or political party simultaneously. According to estimates drawn from the data at the Volby.cz website, the RDS was voted for in Ostrava by slightly more than 600 individual voters.
The most votes cast (both for the party and for an individual candidate) were won by the RDS lead candidate Vladimír Leško (811). The RDS won most of its votes in the Vítkovice municipality of Ostrava, where it scored 4.35 % of the total votes cast.
In all of the places around the Czech Republic where the RDS ran it won a total of 0.03 % of the vote. The Equal Opportunities Party ended up even worse, with a total of just 413 votes cast for it countrywide, which essentially means 0 % percentagewise.
Romani candidates on other lists
Some Romani candidates succeeded on other candidate lists in the local elections. In Ralsko, current Vice-Mayor Oto Váradi, the lead candidate for the "Party of Indpendent Candidates - European Democrats" (SNK Evropští demokraté) party, defended his seat.
The party won a close victory over the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) with 25.64 % of the vote. In the municipality of Lom (Most district), Romani candidate Marian Dancso, the lead candidate on the "Citizen for the Town, Town for the Citizen - Voice for the Citizen" (OMMO - hlas pro občana) party, won a seat with 5. 7 % of the vote.
Antigypsyists and extremists
Liana Janáčková, whose previous anti-Romani remarks are generally known, defended her council seat along with her Independents (Nezávislí) group in the Mariánské hory a Hulváky Municipal Department of Ostrava. The Independents won the election there with 30.06 % of the vote.
Czech Senator Jiří Čunek confirmed his strong position in the town of Vsetín, leading the Christian Democrats' (KDU-ČSL) candidate list. The party won safely with almost 30 % of the vote and Čunek is already planning to govern in coalition with ANO and ČSSD.
Čunek himself will evidently become mayor there. "Mr Čunek has our full support and is candidate number one for the post of mayor," Bohumila Holeňová, vice-chair of the local KDU-ČSL organization and a newly-elected councilor, told iDNES.cz.
The Workers Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) achieved better results compared to the previous local elections. The party won a total of six council seats throughout the whole Czech Republic, three in Duchcov, two in the South Bohemian town of Větřní, and one in Dolní Nivy (Karlovy Vary Region).
The Duchcov town council has a total of 21 members. "This is a disgrace to our town, but I am not succumbing to panic. In the previous local elections two DSSS members made it onto the Krupka town council, and both of them left that party while the elections were underway," Mayor of Duchcov Jitka Bártová told iDNES.cz.
The election of the DSSS to the council, according to iDNES.cz, has complicated opportunities for post-election cooperation there. If local politicians want to avoid collaborating with the party, they will have to put together a left-right coalition.
"Duchcov is divided precisely in half between the left and the right, each won approximately the same number of seats. The DSSS are splitting us right down the middle," Bártová said, adding that she was not able to imagine a meaningful coalition could be put together right now.
In the Senate elections the Republika party, founded by the infamous antigypsyist and former Public Affairs MP Otto Chaloupka, was a flop. His Senate candidates utterly failed.
Senators Miroslav Krejča and Pavel Lebeda, who are also notorious for their anti-Romani remarks, have also ended their careers in high politics. Chaloupka, who railed against Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier and against Romani people during his campaign in Kladno, ended up with 2.5 % of the vote, finishing third from last.
In the local elections, however, Republika won eight council seats. Among the larger municipalities the party scored victories in the Brno-South Municipal Department, Písek and Varnsdorf.
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