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Extremist party wins one seat in rerun elections in Krupka, Czech Republic

Krupka, 9.5.2011 2:45, (ROMEA)

The results of Saturday's municipal elections in Krupka have essentially repeated last October's annulled results. This is an indirect confirmation of allegations that vote-buying has occurred there once again. The results were published by the Czech Statistical Bureau today.

On Saturday several witnesses attested to the fact that vote-buying had occurred. The political grouping of the ČSNS and Šance pro město (A Chance for the Town), to which the current Vice-Mayor Zdeněka Matouš belongs, won with 20.83 % of the vote. The opposition has most frequently alleged that the Vice-Mayor is linked to the vote-buying. Matouš has rejected such allegations in the past.

The grouping won a similar number of votes last year in two districts that include the troubled Horní Maršov housing estate, even though this time some of those votes were lost to the "Sportovci pro Krupku" (Athletes for Krupka) party, which is allegedly affiliated with ČSNS and Šance pro město. The total for each grouping in both districts is practically the same as in the fall. "Sportovci pro Krupku" won 12.02 % of the votes and came in fifth place. The "Zdravá Krupka" ("Healthy Krupka") group came in second place with 14.21 % of the vote, the Civic Democrats (ODS) came in third (12.57 %), the Communists fourth (KSČM - 12.07 %), and the Social Democrats came in sixth (ČSSD - 9.86 %). Extremists from the Workers' Social Justice Party (DSSS) and the "Krupka naše město" ("Krupka is Our Town") political grouping also won a seat on the town council.

Elections in the small town of 14 000 on the outskirts of Teplice were annulled by the courts in the fall because of vote-buying. Most representatives of the opposition are not preparing to contest the results this time. On Saturday, speaking off the record, they indicated that it would harm the town if it were to spend another half a year without a functioning council.

The DSSS, however, has said it wants to file a complaint about the election. Mayor Milan Puchar (ODS) has also announced he will file criminal charges against an unidentified perpetrator on suspicion of machinations. "There is no other option but an investigation into what is really behind the reports we have received," he said.

Prior to the election, the opposition accused both Matouš and Puchar of doing their best to hang on to power at any cost in order to cover up fraud allegedly committed during the construction of the Nové Modlany industrial zone. "Someone is doing their best to make sure no one else can look into the archive," former Mayor Pavel Maleček ("Zdravá Krupka") alleged. Puchar has denied the accusation.

Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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