Miker (SRP), Romani candidate to the Czech lower house: Roma share a cause beyond political affiliations
An unusually high number of Romani people are running in this year's early elections compared to years past. The monthly Romano voďi, published by the ROMEA association, has done its best to interview all the candidates running for the lower house and will run those interviews in addition to publishing analytical material about the elections.
News server Romea.cz will be gradually publishing these interviews. We consider these elections to be important, key, and we hope to bring you the opinions of all those asking for your vote.
This interview introduces Jozef Miker of the Equal Opportunities Party (Strana rovných příležitostí - SRP). A locksmith who is currently on disability, Miker is running on the candidate list of the Green Party (Strana zelených - SZ) in 17th place in the Ústí Region.
Q: Why the SRP? Have you ever been a member of another political group before this?
A: I have never belonged to any political group before, even though I received offers, for example, from the Romani Democratic Party (Romská demokratická strana). I helped found the SRP, there are people there whom I trust, such as Čeněk Růžička and Štefan Tišer. When they asked me to join them in the SRP, I accepted the offer.
Q: What chance, in your opinion, does the SRP have in the early elections in general and in your region in particular?
A: I believe the party has a rather decent chance, at least two candidates could be seated should they receive the necessary number of votes.
Q: What do you say to the "alliance" between the Greens and the SRP making it possible for SRP members or nominees to run on the Green Party's candidate lists? What might this alliance mean to the voters?
A: I'm glad we have connected with the Green Party, they are the closest to our own electoral program. There are also people in the Green Party who have gone to fight with us against the neo-Nazis such as Karel Karika. [Green Party chair] Ondřej Liška also, for example, visits Lety every year and fights to close the pig farm [on the site of the former concentration camp for Roma there]. This alliance simply seemed the most rational to us.
Q: Why did the SRP reach out to the Greens in particular? Did you reach out to any other political parties? What was the result?
A: Collaboration with the Greens has been in preparation since May, since the commemorative ceremony at Lety. I know talks were held with the Pirates, but I don't know if they were held with anyone else.
Q: This year rather a lot of Romani people are running for various parties. What do you make of this?
A: My perception is that it is very positive that Romani people have finally gotten the courage to run. I hope Romani candidates make it into the lower house and that they will fight against these anti-Romani marches and for Romani people.
Q: If elected, should the Romani candidates collaborate even though they are representing various points along the political spectrum?
A: Yes, there is already good collaboration, for example, between the RDS and the SRP. Romani people should be part of the same cause, it doesn't matter which party they belong to - the aim is shared by us all.
Q: What does Romanipen (romipen) mean to you?
A: Primarily upholding our ancient cultures - romipen.
Q: What do politics and your participation in them symbolize for you?
A: Improving the position and situation of Romani people in the Czech Republic.
These interviews will be published in the print edition of Romano voďi magazine, the October edition of which will feature edited versions of all of these interviews (in Czech only). You can order a copy of the October edition at email@example.com.
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