A man has been found guilty of making a Nazi salute at an event organised
by Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy party. The Prague 1
District Court gave Radek Mansfeld a six-month suspended sentence and fined
him CZK 30,000 in connection with the incident, which occurred in April at
a meeting in central Prague at which leaders of European far-right parties
spoke out against what they call the dictate of the EU.
A judge said Mr. Mansfeld was fully aware of the meaning of neo-Nazism and that making the “seig heil” gesture was a symbol of fascism. He has appealed the verdict.
In a video-greeting to the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party on the
occasion of its weekend party conference, President Miloš Zeman said he
does not consider the party to be extremist, and finds the label
“radical” more suited to its nature. Radical parties are a legitimate
part of the political spectrum, Mr. Zeman noted.
The president said he shared the party’s preference for direct elections, noting that he himself had been elected in this way and supported the institution of public referenda.
He was critical however of the party’s negative stand to Czech participation in foreign missions, saying that international terrorism must be fought by actions not just words and every democratic country had a responsibility to contribute to this endeavour.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s centre-right ANO party “won” the European Parliament elections this weekend. Their junior coalition partner, the centre-left Social Democrats clearly “lost”. Those are the newspaper headlines. But, as always, the political landscape is more nuanced. Mr Babiš’s foes in the main opposition parties together will have twice as many MEPs, at a time when he is under investigation for alleged EU subsidy fraud.
Communist Party deputy-chair Kateřina Konečná, who heads the party
ticket in the European elections, has said she will file a criminal
complaint against the head of the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party, Tomio
Okamura for allegedly spreading lies in the party’s election campaign.
The Communist Party’s MEP said she would provide further details at a
press briefing on Friday.
Konečná recently wrote on Facebook that Okamura was lying when he told voters that the Communist Party’s MEPs had voted in favour of admitting migrants from Africa to the Czech Republic.
A heightened police presence is planned for central Prague on Thursday,
with anti-European Union politicians due to speak at a gathering held by
the Czech party Freedom and Direct Democracy. France’s Marie Le Pen and
Geert Wilders from the Netherlands will speak at a protest on Wenceslas
Square against what organisers call the dictate of the EU. Italy’s Matteo
Salvini will send a video greeting.
Opponents of the anti-EU meeting are due to hold counter-protests nearby. One has been dubbed the Noise Olympics and attendees plan to use various objects to cause a commotion.
Three MPs who quit Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy party
have set up a new grouping. Lubomír Volný, Marian Bojko and Ivana
Nevludová are now members of Unified Alternative for Patriots, which was
officially registered on Friday and plans to take part in May’s elections
to the European Parliament.
Mr. Volný said the three had left Freedom and Direct Democracy as it had permitted racists and neo-Nazis to join it. He has rejected a call from the party to also resign from his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.
Lubomír Volný has in the past referred to Václav Havel as a traitor, criticised the Erasmus scheme for students and offered to “take outside” a dispute with another MP during a lower house session. Soon after he said he would challenge Mr. Okamura for the party chairmanships his Moravian Silesian branch of Freedom and Direct Democracy was dissolved.
Three MPs have quit Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy Party.
Lubomír Volný, Marian Bojko and Ivana Nevludová were all elected in the
Moravian Silesian Region. Mr. Volný said the move was in protest at the
fact that the party had allowed racists and neo-Nazis to enter its ranks.
He has rejected a call from Freedom and Direct Democracy to also resign
from his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.
Mr. Volný is a controversial figure who in the past called Václav Havel a traitor, criticised the Erasmus scheme for students and offered to “take outside” a dispute with another MP during a lower house session. Soon after he announced that he would challenge Mr. Okamura for the party chairmanships his local branch was dissolved.
The State Security Council has taken note of a 2017 report on extremism in
the Czech Republic in the original wording drafted by the Ministry of the
Interior, the minister of the interior, Jan Hamáček, said on Thursday.
The study will now be debated by the government.
There have been media reports that discussion of the document was delayed after President Miloš Zeman’s office objected to its purported linking of extremism and Tomio Okamura’s anti-migrant Freedom and Direct Democracy party.
In the past the annual report on extremism was discussed in May. However, Mr. Hamáček has denied that political intervention caused a delay this year.
Government leaders ANO would have won elections in November with 29.5
percent of the vote, virtually the same as they achieved in the last
general elections, suggests a freshly released CVVM poll. Most respondents
answered the survey prior to November 12, when a scandal surrounding ANO
leader Andrej Babiš’s son broke.
The Civic Democrats placed second in the poll on 14.5 percent, just ahead of the Czech Pirate Party on 14.0 percent. Some 10.0 percent of those surveyed would have cast their ballots for the Communists, with 9.0 percent backing the Social Democrats, the junior party in the governing coalition. Freedom and Direct Democracy would achieve 7.5 percent, the poll indicated.