Czech Romanies Form Party to Run in Early Elections
The Romany Democratic Party, officially registered in August and planning to run in the autumn early election, wants to defend those in need and focus mainly on the young Romany generation, its leader Miroslav Tancos told CTK today. The new left-wing party currently has candidates in four of the country’s 14 regions and it is seeking new people to run for it on Facebook. Tancos said he would like the party to offer its candidates in all regions. He said he himself is not going to run in the general election due on October 25-26.
There are 250,000 Romanies in the 10.5-million country and one third of them are from poor neighbourhoods with bad living conditions, according to estimates. Romanies do not have any party that would represent them in Czech parliament. Only a few small groupings have been established. In the early 1990s, several members of the Romany Civic Initiative entered parliament following the fall of the Czechoslovak communist regime. In the latest general election in 2010, Josef Tancos, an ethnic Romany, was elected for the Social Democratic Party (CSSD). In late 2011, the Equal Opportunities Party representing Romanies got officially registered by the Interior Ministry. The Romany Democratic Party says it wants to promote the interests of single mothers, pensioners, the ill, and the unemployed. It names education and employment as its priorities, especially promoting preparation of Romany children for elementary schools. Until now, a high number of Romany kids ended up in special elementary schools for children with light mental disorders even though they suffered from no such disorder. This makes it hard for them to acquire higher education and get a better job. Tancos headed another political grouping in the past years. He was chairman of the Romany Social Democratic Party, founded in 2005. However, the Supreme Administrative Court officially dissolved this party in 2011 because it did not submit the required annual financial reports. Tancos said his present party wants to proceed in a correct, transparent way. He said previously that sponsors from Britain gave two million crowns to the Romany Democratic Party, but he did not reveal their names.