Czech Republic: Workers' Party tries for a comeback
The Czech Interior Ministry has stopped an attempt by the Party for Europe (Strana pro Evropu - SPE) to change its name to the Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS). Registration of the new name was officially requested by SPE leader Hana Pavlíčková, who is the mother of Tomáš Vandas, the former chair of the dissolved DS and current chair of the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS). The effort to once again acquire the right to use the Workers' Party name may reflect the value the name holds for ultra-nationalists.
The SPE was registered as a completely new party in May 2011. At its constitutional convention in June, it changed its name to the Workers' Party (DS).
Vandas has not officially endorsed the new DS, but he did tell news server Parlamentnílisty.cz that the new DS would be waiting "in reserve" should his DSSS be dissolved. "The party's official stance, of course, is that I will not comment on the activities of other political parties, but given that the Party for Europe is led by my mother, it is probably clear to everyone that this is a reserve party. We need a reserve in case the state once again comes to the opinion that it wants to dissolve us," Vandas told the news server.
Czech Interior Ministry spokesperson Petra Schneiderová told Týden magazine that the decision to reject the name change was made because permission to use the Workers' Party name might give the public the mistaken impression that the state was permitting the revival of the original party's activities. Pavlíčková said the party has filed an appeal of the decision with the courts.
Commenting for Týden magazine, lawyer Josef Lžičař says the state will not be able to justify its rejection and will eventually have to register a new DS. "If that name is available and the party's statutes do not violate the law, there is no reason why the party shouldn't succeed with its appeal in court," Lžičař told Týden. The Czech Supreme Administrative Court verdict which dissolved the Workers' Party last February was not about banning the phrase "Workers' Party", but was about the concrete actions of concrete people.
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