Is Far Right Extremism the New Normal in Czech Politics?

Berlin, Nov 18 (CTK correspondent) – Czech politicians are courting ultra-right extremist parties to gain majority in parliament now, while in the 1990s, the Czech Republic reacted to racist incidents by “a revolt of decent people,” the Spiegel Online German server writes.


The Czech Republic has changed, it writes in an article headlined Prague Winter, criticising President Milos Zeman, among others.


Spiegel Online describes current affairs of hateful reactions on the Internet to a photo featuring the Roma, Vietnamese and Arab first graders from a school in Teplice, north Bohemia, and a brutal attack by football rowdies on a man from Western Africa in a tram in Prague.


“These are far from the worst such cases in the Czech Republic,” the server writes.


It recalls that the country faced several racially motivated murders of the Romas and Africans in the 1990s and even after 2000, but there was a broad anti-racist and anti-extremist consensus in Czech politics and society then.


The situation is different now. Though Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Education Minister Stanislav Stech (both Social Democrats, CSSD) condemned racist expressions, Zeman trivialized them, Spiegel Online writes.


It says Zeman passed a racist remark on the Romas saying there might be 90 percent of them among the “unadaptable citizens.”


Such statements are not isolated and not only the head of state is uttering them, the server adds.


It also identifies the latest symptoms of racism in connection with the October general election in the Czech Republic in which “protest,” anti-establishment parties and the ultra-right scored success.


Exactly the populist anti-immigration Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) of Tomio Okamura, which is pushing for a ban on Islam in the Czech Republic, along with the Communists (KSCM) might support the nascent minority cabinet of Andrej Babis, chairman of the election-winning ANO, Spiegel Online writes.