Party of Free Citizens
|This article is outdated. (March 2011)|
|Party of Free Citizens|
|Strana svobodných občanů|
|Founded||14 February 2009|
120 00 Prague 2
|European Parliament group||Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy|
|Colours||Green and White|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Politics of the Czech Republic
The Party of Free Citizens or the Free Citizens' Party (Czech: Strana svobodných občanů, Svobodní) is a libertarian and classical liberal eurosceptic political party in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 2009 by Petr Mach, an external economic advisor of Czech president Václav Klaus.
It ran in the 2009 European Parliament election in the Czech Republic; among its goals were the failure of the Treaty of Lisbon and forcing a referendum on introduction of the euro in the Czech Republic. It was in talks with Declan Ganley to be part of his EU-wide Libertas movement, but the talks failed. Its logo is a ram on a green field. In the 2014 European Parliament election they are candidates by side with UK Independence Party and heading to parliament group Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy.
Currently, the party has one MEP elected (the leader, Petr Mach). Several county councilors successfully ran on the party's ballot in 2010 and 38 councilors held positions in mostly small towns and cities. The party will set up ballot papers in Autumn 2014 as well. The polls predict the party will succeed in Prague municipality and several larger cities in Bohemia, such as Ceske Budejovice and Hradec Kralove where the polling reaches app. 5%.
The electorate of the party are mostly higher educated college graduates, men, secular and living in larger cities. The stronghold of the party is traditionally Prague.
|This section may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (May 2014)|
The party can be described as libertarian with opposition to high government involvement in the economy and personal lives, and centralization of political power. Its members are advocates of the free market and often subscribe to the Austrian School of economic thought. They seek to lower tax rates and restrict state redistribution of wealth to a minimum, and introduce a constitutional amendment disallowing an unbalanced budget. They also believe that downsizing the government would leave less space for corruption, a somewhat problematic issue of Czech politics.
The British racing green symbolizes freedom. The party's leader Petr Mach one time stated: "Freedom is a lifestyle."
The ram symbolizes the stubborn defensive position towards EU bureaucracy.
Party of Free Citizen's regularly sets up candidates and appears on the ballot in major elections. The candidates are chosen by primary vote on the internet.
Chamber of Deputies
|Year||# of total votes||Vote %||Seats|
|Year||# of total votes||Vote %||Seats|
Defense: The party views the best option for piece as to be part of NATO but majority of the members opposes the idea of involvement in conflicts such as in Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali. EU should not have a common army.
Drugs: Most of the members agree on decriminalization of marihuana. The party rejects the idea of drug war.
Budget: The party advocates for lowering of the national debt and as a tool the party wants to propose the balanced budget. Balanced budget would be incorporated to the constitution of the Czech Republic based on the Swiss model.
Internet regulation The party does not approve ACTA treaty and other internet regulation laws. One of the main reasons for this position is to preserve the freedom of speech. The internet service provider should be responsible for the voluntary regulation and traffic monitoring, not the state.
Europe: The regulations and meaningless restriction of European Union led the Party of Free Citizens to the conclusion that EU is not libertarian enough. The bureaucracy and money waste is higher than benefits. However, the Party believes in free trade, free movement (not just in EU) and cooperation. As an alternative to EU, the party seeks membership in EFTA which would preserve the pros of the European cooperation and leave the cons of the ever closer union.
Direct democracy: Citizen's should have a right to reject laws which were imposed on the citizens via popular veto. This model can be used not just on the state level but local as well.
Animals: The party opposes pet-taxation. People should not be discriminated by having a dog.
Education: Education from the first grade to the secondary education should be kept as it (the Czechs can attend either public or privet schools) is with an exception of leaving out the 9th grade in elementary schools (The Czech pupils attend elementary schools for 5, 7 or 9 years and high-schools for 8, 6 or 4 years). By shortening the elementary education, the party seeks saving money and pushing teachers for efficiency. The college education with exceptions should not be for free and should be privatized.
Religion: Party respects everyone's choice of religious freedom. However, the church should be completely separated from state. The party values humanism as one of the highest priorities.
National Debt: One of the tools how to decrease the national debt is to dissolve some state-owned offices which, as the party believes, do not create real valuable jobs bringing no real positive impact on people's lives. These offices include for example Energy Regulatory Office, Czech Tourism, Czech Invest, Transport Research Center, Czech Bank of Exports, Customs Administration, Czech Telecommunication Office and etc.
Copyright: The party respects the right of property and private ownership. However, the recording companies should not write the laws of the Czech Republic. The way how to get rid of piracy is to dissolve the Copyright Protection Union, the state-directed office which taxes people for buying data storage, organizing concerts. The office serves as an agent provocateur and actively, not passively seek copyright infringement. By dissolving the state-owned office, the state will save money and people will pay less taxes.
Value-added tax: The current VAT in Czech Republic is 21% and for basic goods 15% which is one of the highest in the world. The party seeks lowering the tax burden in this area by for example lowering taxes on diapers and other products for children.
Sales tax: The party holds a strong position of lowering the tax burden on gas, electricity and oil-products. The reason for the height of the price is because of meaningless support for green energy which effects especially the lower class which find itself in energy poverty. From every liter of gas (app 35 Korunas per liter), 2 Korunas are reinvested to back to colza growing. The colza fields are blathing the Czech landscape and the prize of food products grew. Everyone using electricity has to pay taxes on solar energy which turned out as one of the biggest corruption scandal in support of renewable energy.
Environment: The Czech nature should be protected but the greatest threat to democracy is fundamental environmentalism by endless support of useless and ineffective renewable energy sources. The party is a strong critic of the environmentalism and therefor the party gets head-in-head with the Green Party.
LBGT: As a libertarian party, the party agrees on mutual respect of people of different sexes and sex-orientation. The party supports civil unions (which currently is in practice by the law). The party does not attend the pride marches.
Direct Taxation: The Czech tax system is very difficult and there are lot of various taxes. Some taxes are even more expensive to collect than to redistribute effectively. The party does not want to abolish taxes but wants to lower them, collect them effectively and simply.
Taxes which party views as completely obsolete:
- Real estate tax (0.2% of GDP - not controlled by the state but left to the people)
- Electricity and coal tax (0.05% of GDP)
- Heritage tax (in red numbers - it costs more than what it earns)
- Income tax (3% of GDP)
- Highway tax (0.1% of GDP)
Media: Everyone who owns TV has to pay 2.146 Korunas in fees (100 USD) every year to finance the Czech TV and Czech Radio Station. This is viewed by the party as the state-legalized thievery. The other TV stations in Czech Republic are private (NOVA, Prima, Barrandov) and they are financed commercially. The Czech TV is not fully independent because it is controlled by the politics and public financing.
- Negrine, Ralph; Stetka, Vaclav; Fialová, Marta (2013), "Campaigning in but not for Europe: European Campaign Strategies in the UK and the Czech Republic", Political Communication in European Parliamentary Elections (Ashgate)
- Horváth, Kata (2012), "Silencing and Naming the Difference", The Gypsy 'menace': Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics (C. Hurst): 154
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