Friday, 17 November 2017

Former dissidents call on Czechs to vote for democratic parties

ČTK |
19 October 2017

Prague, Oct 18 (CTK) - Several civic activists, including signatories of the Charter 77 dissident manifesto, called on Czechs to vote for democratic parties and reject the candidates who want the destruction of the political system in the forthcoming election, former Charter 77 spokesman Milos Rejchrt told journalists on Wednesday.

They warned of populist and extremist parties and also criticised the Communists (KSCM).

"It is not true that everyone steals in this country and that nothing but corruption is thriving here. The people in the Czech Republic are able to think, to work and to create," Rejchrt, a Protestant priest, read from the petition signed by 60 personalities who also oppose the dismissal of the current system.

"As our representational democracy has many shortcomings, we should eliminate them, but we should not eliminate representational democracy," Rejchrt said.

"We should not question institutions of the Czech state. Let us vote for democratic parties with democratic structures and trustworthy leaders. Let us vote for the separation of politics from business," he added in a not very veiled reference to food and media mogul Andrej Babis, whose ANO is clearly leading in the latest polls.

Former dissident and postcommunist defence minister Lubos Dobrovsky said he had lived to see several attempts at destroying the old regimes, such as those in 1938 and 1948 [the Communist coup].

"All attempts at new regimes have ended tragically. In some political statements about old and new systems, I can see something close to what I lived to see and which I would not like to repeat," he added.

The politicians who call everyone thieves threaten democracy, Dobrovsky said.

Those who want to push the Czech Republic away from the West also pose a threat, he added.

Democracy is threatened by the Communists, Rejchrt did said.

"I sense a threat to democracy also by the party which monopolised power because it had its commanding role anchored in the constitution," Rejchrt said.

Writer and former dissident Petr Placak went on to criticise President Milos Zeman. He said Zeman did not observe the good manners, contributing to the spread of extremist atmosphere.

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