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National Party and Workers’ Party apparently committed registration fraud

Prague, 5.6.2009 8:51, (ROMEA)

Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) reports that the neo-Nazi Workers’ Party (Dělnická strana - DS) and the nationalist National Party (Národní strana - NS) were evidently registered with the Czech Interior Ministry on the basis of the falsified or stolen signatures of those allegedly interested in party membership. MfD reports that police have begun authenticating registration papers with allegedly forged signatures of those who supposedly supported the proposal to register the NS. Lawyer Jakub Drábek told the paper any eventual abolition of the DS or NS on the basis of such matters would be difficult now. However, according to MfD, the Interior Ministry should be able to use the results of this investigation during its next attempt to have both parties banned by the courts.

Sources from within each party, some of whom prefer to remain anonymous, told MfD that the DS probably misused signatures originally collected by the Republican Party. Seven years ago, current DS head Tomáš Vandas was running Miroslav Sládek’s Republican Party secretariat. It was the Republicans who were facing the threat of abolition in those days, so they began gathering signatures for a new party called “Nová síla” (New Force). The Republic Party eventually survived, so the signatures remained in the safe, but Vandas left the Republicans under bad terms and, according to party members who signed up for “New Force”, stole the documents when he left, MfD reports. "I signed for Miroslav Sládek, not for the Workers’ Party," says Irena Ševčíková of Mnichov Hradiště.

MfD reports that Vandas rejects accusations of having stolen the documents but has not managed to clearly explain how he acquired them. "This is a provocation by the Republicans, who are jealous of us,” he says.

Seven years ago, when both parties applied, nothing seemed amiss to Interior Ministry officials, who reviewed the submitted forms merely as a formality and registered both parties without any significant delays, MfD reports.

The paper says the National Party is suspected of falsifying registration signatures, noting that hundreds of names are in the same handwriting. “We did not have enough signatures, so a few of our members completed the forms. We were surprised ourselves that they made it past the ministry,” a source from the NS leadership told the paper. Some names are repeated on the forms and some identification numbers are allegedly listed incorrectly, the paper reports.

"Forged signatures? You know what? We’re not interested in these fabrications. I don’t have to talk to you,” Pavel Sedláček of the NS said when asked about the situation.

MfD reports that police are verifying the documents, but it is not clear whether they can prosecute anyone for fraud or manipulating personal data after so many years. However, the Interior Ministry might use these new findings in its next attempt to abolish both parties. It has already tried once to dissolve the DS, but the Supreme Administrative Court ruled there was not enough evidence.

The DS and NS have drawn attention through their anti-Roma actions. Their most recent scandal concerned their campaigns for the EP elections Friday and Saturday. Both parties prepared anti-Roma ads for radio and television, which Czech Television and Czech Radio refused to broadcast. Czech Television has even filed criminal charges, but both parties intend to defend themselves. DS members protested the move at a demonstration in Prague in late May, after which police intervened to arrest several dozen of them. Once the EP elections are over, the National Party wants to file a court motion to have them annulled.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, ROMEA, ROMEA, ČTK, MF DNES, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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