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Young Czech activist to launch new political party

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Prague, Czech Republic- Mikulas Minar, the head of the ‘Million Moments for Democracy’ civic movement, announced he was leaving the organization and was planning to enter politics.

27-year-old Minar said he was preparing to launch a new political party to run in the Czech parliamentary elections next year.

“The current political situation has been blocked for a long time”, he told local media IHNED and Denik N, adding that there was a need for a new political movement to break the status quo and was already in talks with a number of politicians and public figures who could join his party.

His announcement drew mixed reactions among commentators.

Talking to Radio Prague, political analyst Jiri Pehe made the case that “Minar has come to the conclusion that his appeals to the current Czech opposition parties to unite and beat Andrej Babis have not succeeded […] So he decided to go into politics himself. Whether he will succeed remains to be seen. But I think that in a way his decision is based on the fact that the current opposition doesn’t seem to pose any big threat to Babis”.

Others have argued that by founding a new political movement, Minar will only further divide the opposition, fracture the anti-Babis electorate and ultimately consolidate the ruling ANO party ahead of next year’s elections.

The ‘Milion Moments for Democracy’ civic movement, which Minar co-founded in 2017 as a grassroots, anti-corruption platform, became an important actor on the Czech political scene and organized the largest anti-government protests since the Velvet Revolution and the end of communism.

Last summer, some 250,000 people gathered in Prague to protest against the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) over allegations of corruption and conflict of interest.

Mikulas Minar, who assured that Milion Chvilek would remain a civic initiative and not take a direct part in politics, is being replaced by Benjamin Roll, a student in theology, as chairman of the organization.

In January, British daily The Times named Minar as one of the world’s 20 “rising stars” to keep an eye on this year.

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