Prague, Czech Republic – A new political party opposing anti-COVID restrictions and calling for the reopening of the economy announced it would run in the Czech Republic’s October general elections, the Czech News Agency (CTK) reported on Tuesday.
Czech anti-coronavirus restrictions movement launches political party
The initiative named Otevřeme Česko – Chcípl PES was registered as a new political party at the Czech Ministry of the Interior on Friday, and plans to take its fight nationwide ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for early October.
Known for organizing a string of protests against the government’s anti-coronavirus measures, the group has called for the reopening of the shops, restaurants and other venues closed due to the pandemic and criticized lockdown measures as inefficient and costly.
Its members also argue the government is abusing its powers and prerogatives under a constantly-prolonged state of national emergency.
Former Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty is set the become the new party’s spokesperson for economic issues. Party co-founder Jiri Janecek told CTK that their goal was to restore “personal freedom and responsibility” following the October elections.
Third wave in full swing in the Czech Republic
Initially mainly representing small business owners, entrepreneurs and self-employed people from the hospitality sector, the Chcípl PES civic initiative has called on the Czech population to promote actions of civil disobedience and presented, in January, a plan which was supposed to allow restaurants to re-open as “political cells” for members of the movement to meet.
Demonstrations organized by Otevřeme Česko – Chcípl PES in Prague usually only attract a few hundred protesters, many of whom don’t wear masks nor respect social distancing guidelines.
Although it’s unlikely the new political party will attract a large amount of voters, dissatisfaction and anger towards the Czech government for its hazardous handling of the COVID-19 crisis has been growing in recent months.
Hard-hit Czech Republic currently has one of the highest infection and death rates in the world. New restrictions, including a near-total ban on travelling outside one’s district of residence, came into force this month to try to slow down the spread of the virus.