Ultra-right National Party seeks to gain attention ahead of elections|
The National Party, one of three tiny ultra right wing groupings which have
been on the margin of Czech politics for years now without gaining any
significant support - is suddenly making headlines. Ahead of the June
general elections, the party is highlighting its anti-Romany,
anti-immigration and anti-drugs stand.
Most recently the party has shown an active interest in the wartime camp
for Romanies at Lety, where 326 people perished and from which over 500
inmates were transported to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Under the guise
of unveiling a memorial stone to WWII victims, the party is spreading the
word that Lety was a camp for misfits and that those who died there
succumbed to common diseases because of their lack of hygiene, not because
of the way they were treated. The statements have shocked many Czechs and
Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan has asked the police to look into the
party's activities and particularly its web pages. The National Party has
achieved its goal - it is in the spotlight - but will this tactic pay off?
A question for political analyst Jiri Pehe:
"Well, I think it may pay off in the sense that it may bring
attention to this party and possibly help them gain some new members but I
do not think it will help the party to win seats in Parliament because they
do not have a large enough constituency in Czech society."
What is the point of this provocation at Lety?
"Well, I think it is exactly what you imply: a provocation. Groups
like these always try to provoke, to stir things up and call attention to
themselves, but simply also to destabilize society because these are
anti-establishment parties which do not believe in democracy and that is
why they provoke.
I think the leaders of this group know that the provocation will not get
them seats in Parliament but it has gotten them some media
This particular party seems to be operating on the margin of the law, so
to speak. They play neo-Nazi bands on their radio station and the interior
minister has now asked the police to look into some of their activities. Do
you think they may have gone too far?
"I personally feel that there are several groups in the Czech
Republic that have gone too far and I think that perhaps the interior
ministry, the police and other institutions are reacting too late. It
seems to me that we have seen a number of incidents for example concerts
organized by the skinhead movement and similar provocations by extreme
right wing parties as we are seeing in Lety. So my opinion is that yes,
they have gone too far, and it is not the first time they have gone too
far and in my opinion the Czech authorities should be more forceful."
The National Party wants to unveil its controversial stone at the site of
the Lety camp this Saturday. The local authorities do not want their
presence there and have asked for the stone to be removed from their
property. The police are expected to be out in force to keep things under