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Czech far-right party faces string of resignations

Prague, Czech Republic – Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) is facing an unprecedented series of resignation in what some analysts see as the prelude to a broader split within the Czech far-right party.

Last week, three MP’s announced they were resigning from the SPD, founded and chaired by Czech-Japanese former businessman and politician Tomio Okamura.

Lubomír Volný, Marian Bojko and Ivana Nevludová, all elected two years ago in the Czech Chamber of Deputies for the Moravian-Silesian region, quit Tomio Okamura’s far-right, anti-EU, anti-immigration party. M. Volný announced his resignation on Facebook, saying it stemmed from the SPD’s “unacceptable” decision to allow racists and neo-Nazis within their ranks. He was referring to the reinstatement of Milan Kuchar, whom M. Volný had himself expelled a few months ago for his neo-Nazi positions. Marian Bojko stated he quit the party for the same reasons.

A few hours later, party chairman Tomio Okamura refuted those allegations in a Facebook post, claiming “there are no neo-Nazi or racists” in the SPD. He also called for the three MP’s to resign from their seat in Parliament, which they refused to do. M. Volný said the SPD party he ran for “no longer existed”.

Lubomír Volný is a controversial figure in Czech politics, known for his hothead behavior and temper. He recently made headline news for suggesting, during a dispute with Social-Democratic MP Jan Birke in Parliament, that they could both “take it outside”. He had previously expressed his desire to challenge Okamura, who was reelected as leader of the party in June last year, for the chairmanship of the far-right movement. Soon after, his Moravian-Silesian branch was dissolved by the SPD central direction.

A few days after announcing their resignation, the three MP’s created a new political group, the Unified Alternative for Patriots (Jednotní Alternativa pro Patrioty), officially registered on Friday last week, according to local media, and aiming to take part to the European Parliament elections in May.

Founded in 2015 from a split with Dawn of Direct Democracy, Freedom and Direct Democracy emerged as the fourth biggest political party after the 2017 legislative elections: it won more than 10% of the votes and held 22 seats in the lower house of Parliament, up until now.

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