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First round of Czech presidential elections saw low turnout in socially excluded localities

23.1.2018 5:55
The first-round candidates in the Czech presidential election of 2018.
The first-round candidates in the Czech presidential election of 2018.

In socially excluded localities of the Czech Republic, which are predominantly inhabited by Romani people, very few people turned out to vote in the first round of the presidential elections. The lowest turnout was in Hrušov (Ostrava-Silesia), where no ballots were cast at all.

In precincts including such localities the incumbent, Miloš Zeman, usually won, but the Chanov housing estate in Most saw first-round challenger Michal Horáček win. News server Romea.cz is publishing an overview of the first-round results in selected localities below in full translation.

Chanov

Election results in Chanov are very frequently surprising. This time the housing estate became a little island of support for first-round contender Michal Horáček, surrounded by locations that were unequivocally dominated by Zeman.

Horáček, a lyricist, was the hands-down winner of the first round at the predominantly Romani-inhabited housing estate. He won more than 69 % of the vote there.

Turnout, however, was very weak at Chanov, with just 42 of 765 registered voters casting ballots. That is a rate of 5.49 %.

Second place in Chanov went to the incumbent, with 23.8 % of the vote. "Horáček was not afraid to go among Romani people," local resident Petr Bažo explained to the daily Mostecký deník when asked why he had voted for the songwriter, adding that locals are fed up with Zeman, an opinion seconded by another Romani voter.

"Zeman is an embarrassment," that voter told the daily. Chanov residents reportedly believe Zeman to be an alcoholic who is not well.

According to Bažo, Zeman is dividing people and has done nothing for Roma - on the contrary, he has verbally assaulted them. "I hope he loses the second round," said Bažo, who plans to vote for second-round challenger Drahoš this weekend.

Předlice

Turnout was not high in the Předlice quarter of Ústí nad Labem. The local primary school is used for voting by two precincts there.

Just 7.11 % of voters registered on adjacent streets turned out. The winner of the first round was the incumbent, with 45.16 % of the vote, while Horáček came in second with 16.12 % of the vote.

Mojžíř

In the precinct that covers the Mojžíř housing estate in Ústí nad Labem, which includes Jindřicha Plachty Street, just 16.6 % of voters cast ballots. The incumbent won the first round there with 57.3 % of the vote ahead of Drahoš, an academic.

Krupka

At the Maršov housing estate in Krupka, which according to estimates by the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion is 70 % Romani, voter turnout was about 28 % in electoral precinct 8, which includes Karla Čapka Street. Of 1 000 voters just 302 turned out for the first round, with the incumbent receiving 48.99 % of the vote, Jiří Drahoš 17.11 % and Michal Horáček 15.1 %.

Trmice

Voter turnout in Trmice, where an estimated one-quarter of the 3 300 inhabitants are Romani, was 39.16 %. Czech President Zeman won 468 votes in the first round, or 51.2 % of the vote.

Second place in the first round went to Jiří Drahoš with 23.63 %. Michal Horáček was chosen by 9.08 % of voters there.

Varnsdorf

In the town of Varnsdorf, precinct no. 9 includes Kovářská Street, which is pejoratively labeled a "Romani ghetto", and the incumbent won there in the first round with 52.4 % (178 voters), with Professor Drahoš coming in second place (16.37 %) and third place going to Michal Horáček (12.28 %). Voter turnout overall was 32.54 % for the ninth precinct.

Obrnice

Voter turnout in Obrnice (Most district) was almost 28 %. Of the 2 500 residents there, about 1 000 are Romani.

The incumbent scored a crushing victory there in the first round, with more than 63 % of the vote. Second place went to Jiří Drahoš (14.41 %) and third place again went to Michal Horáček (9.38 %).

Hrušov

Precinct number 19003 in this municipality in Ostrava-Silesia was an absolutely unique phenomenon in the Czech Republic during the first round of voting, as nobody turned out there at all. "People who used to live on Přednádražní Street moved there," Mayor Barbora Jelonková told news server iRozhlas.cz.

"That is a locality where it is very sad," the mayor said. Last year's elections to the lower house saw just three of 115 voters turn out in Hrušov.

Vsetín - Poschla

It is not possible to exactly determine from official statistics who was the first-round favorite of the Romani inhabitants of the container housing in Poschla. They were evicted to that excluded locality more than a decade ago by the former Mayor of Vsetín, Jiří Čunek.

Poschla forms just a small part of precinct no. 7, where 501 people cast ballots, or 57.99 % of registered voters. The incumbent won the first round in that precinct with 40.48 % ahead of Jiří Drahoš (22.44 %) and Marek Hilšer (9.61 %), who garnered just one more vote than fourth-place finisher Michal Horáček.

ČTK, vhl, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Prezident, Prezidentské volby, Prezidentské volby 2018, Roma



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