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Czech President Zeman sends video-greeting to far-right party

Prague, Czech Republic – Czech President Milos Zeman sent a video-greeting to the conference of the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party.

In his video, the head of state made the case that the anti-immigration, anti-EU party founded by Czech-Japanese businessman Tomio Okamura shouldn’t be considered as “extremist”, but rather as a “radical” movement. He added that radical parties were a legitimate part of the political spectrum.

Milos Zeman, a former leader of the Czech Social Democratic (CSSD) party turned populist, anti-immigration president, also said he supported a number of ideas of Freedom and Direct Democracy, including the promotion of direct democracy mechanisms and use of general referendum – reminding along the way that he was the first Czech President to have been directly elected back in 2013.

Zeman, known for his provocative comments and abrasive style and currently at the center of a never-ending political saga that threatens to topple the government, nevertheless criticized the opposition of the far-right SPD party to the Czech Republic’s participation in foreign military missions, including in Afghanistan.

The Czech President argued that such missions were essential to fight, with deeds and actions rather than only with words, Islamic terrorism.

During the conference, Tomio Okamura slammed globalism, described as a modern form of imperialism and colonialism, and the European Union, labelled liberalism a path to slavery and rejected political correctness and “the dictatorship of minorities”. “It requires courage to be a patriot”, he told the audience.

Winning around 9% of the votes in the recent European elections, Freedom and Direct Democracy sent two representatives to the European Parliament. It also holds 22 seats in the lower house of Czech Parliament since 2017.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.

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