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Municipal elections to be repeated in six Czech voting districts

Jirkov, 12.11.2010 13:33, (ROMEA)

In the town of Jirkov, the municipal elections must be repeated in three districts now that the Regional Court in Ústí nad Labem has determined that the election winner, the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), engaged in vote-buying there, news server Aktuálně.cz reports. ČSSD members hired drivers to transport people to the polls and even promised to find some of them work if ČSSD won.

ČSSD won with more than 30 % of the vote in Jirkov. Czech Interior Minister Radek John has 30 days to set the date of the new election.

"It was proven beyond any doubt that transportation was organized for voters to reach the polls in districts 7, 8 and 9 for the purpose of electing a specific party," Judge Dagmar Štullerová said. People registered in these districts will now vote again.

Aktuálně.cz reports the court is convinced that many of the residents would never have gone to the polls if they had not been paid and transported there. The verdict takes effect today.

One of the drivers who took people to the polls, Ladislav Strnisko, told the court he drove them to either the elementary school or cultural center in the Ervěnice district and gave them already-completed ballots to place in the urns. After they had voted, he paid them each CZK 100. "I delivered about 100 people like that," he confessed.

Strnisko said everything was paid for by ČSSD candidate Libor Duchoň, who rejected all claims that the Social Democrats bought votes. The court did not find Duchoň's testimony credible. Aktuálně.cz reports that Duchoň may be expelled from the party for manipulating the elections. Acting ČSSD leader Bohuslav Sobotka told the news server that if the vote buying is confirmed, Duchoň must leave the party.

On Monday the Regional Court in Ústí nad Labem also ruled the elections will be repeated in three districts of the town of Krupka. The court responded to a complaint filed by five political parties that there was trafficking in the votes of socially vulnerable people during the municipal elections. Voters complained that members of the Roma community in particular were paid CZK 200 or 300 to vote for a particular party.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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