Freedom and Direct Democracy

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Freedom and Direct Democracy
Svoboda a přímá demokracie
AbbreviationSPD
LeaderTomio Okamura
Deputy LeadersRadim Fiala
Ivan David
Radek Rozvoral
Radovan Vích
Founded5 May 2015 (2015-05-05)
Split fromDawn of Direct Democracy
HeadquartersRytířská 6, Prague[1]
NewspaperNa vlastní oči[2]
Youth wingMladí Espéďáci
Membership (2022)9,783[3]
Ideology
Political positionRight-wing[12][13] to
far-right[4][14][15][16]
European affiliationIdentity and Democracy Party
European Parliament groupIdentity and Democracy
Colours  Blue
Chamber of Deputies
20 / 200
Senate
0 / 81
European Parliament
1 / 21
Regional councils
35 / 675
Governors of the regions
0 / 13
Local councils
155 / 62,300
Website
http://www.spd.cz/

Freedom and Direct Democracy (Czech: Svoboda a přímá demokracie, SPD) is a right-wing populist political party in the Czech Republic.[17] It is led by Tomio Okamura and it holds 20 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

It has been described as right-wing[12][18] or far-right on the political spectrum.[19][20][21] It expresses opposition to immigration[9][22] and it is staunchly Eurosceptic,[11] while in their political program they state their support for direct democracy.[5]

History[edit]

The party was founded in May 2015 by Tomio Okamura and Radim Fiala when eight Members of Parliament split from the Dawn of Direct Democracy parliamentary group. As the party was newly-formed in that parliamentary term, these MPs sat as independents until the 2017 Czech legislative election. Following that election, the party now holds 22 seats in the Czech Chamber of Deputies.

Freedom and Direct Democracy is named after the European Parliament Eurosceptic political group Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy.[23][24][25] The party has links with Marine Le Pen's National Front which is a member of the Europe of Nations and Freedom, a separate Eurosceptic political group in the European Parliament[26] and Marine Le Pen endorsed SPD before the 2017 Czech legislative election.[27]

In December 2017, SPD hosted a conference of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom in Prague, with parties such as the French National Front, Dutch Party for Freedom, Freedom Party of Austria and Lega Nord of Italy.[28]

In 2019, following the European Parliament elections, the SPD entered the European Parliament with two MEPs, who sit with the Identity and Democracy group.[29]

In July 2020, SPD MP Tereza Hyťhová defected to become the third MP for the Tricolour Citizens' Movement.[30]

During the 2021 Czech legislative election, the SPD finished fourth with 20 MPs.[31] On 14 September 2022 MEP Hynek Blaško left SPD due to disagreement with Okamura's leadership of the party.[32]

Policies and ideology[edit]

On its website and policy brief, SPD refers to itself as "a patriotic and democratic movement" with a focus on political reform, law and order, direct democracy, entrepreneurship and national sovereignty. It also claims to seek support from ordinary working citizens, small business owners and middle class professionals. The party also wants to reduce state-surveillance, reform the Czech tax system, support internet freedom and encourage more citizen led participation in national politics.[33] Political commentators have variously described the party as right-wing populist, nationalist and anti-immigration in its platform and rhetoric.[9][22]

The party is opposed to Czech membership of the European Union and calls for the Czech Republic to leave the bloc. The party also wants to pursue a more restrictive immigration policy, particularly towards immigration from Islamic nations, and rejects multiculturalism. It is strongly opposed to illegal immigration and the EU's policy of migrant quotas. The party itself claims that it does not seek to promote hatred towards any race or culture, but argues for the protection of "Judeo-Christian" values[34] and believes that migrant quotas will lead to the "Islamization" of Europe.[35][36][37]

Organisation[edit]

Membership[edit]

Tomio Okamura often claims that SPD has a membership of thousands of members. In October 2017 he claimed that SPD has 7,000 members,[38] and in November 2017 12,000 members.[citation needed] Doubt has been cast on these figures, with the suggestion that Okamura often conflates numbers of supporters with actual members. It was reported in 2015 that SPD had only 20 members, compared to Okamura's claims of 10,000.[citation needed] In February 2018 the party stated that it had 1,200 members.[39] The party had 1,400 members in July 2018.[40]

Election results[edit]

Presidential[edit]

Election Candidate First round result Second round result
Votes %Votes Result Votes %Votes Result
2018 Supported Miloš Zeman 1,985,547 38.56 First place 2,853,390 51.37 Won
2023 Jaroslav Bašta 248,375 4.45 5th place

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats ± Place Government
2015
8 / 200
Split from Dawn opposition
2017 538,574 10.64
22 / 200
Increase 14 4th opposition
2021 513,910 9.56
20 / 200
Decrease 2 4th opposition

Senate[edit]

Election First round Second round Seats Notes
Votes % Places Votes % Places
2016 5,988 0.68 20th  
0 / 27
2018 759 3.34 7th  
0 / 1
By-election in Trutnov district.
2018 697 4.09 8th  
0 / 1
By-election in Zlín district. Lubomír Nečas was a SPO candidate supported by SPD.
2018 70,110 6.44 7th  
0 / 27
2020 61,352 6.15 7th  
0 / 27

Local election[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Place Seats
2018
155 / 61,892

European Parliament[edit]

Election Votes Share of votes in % Seats obtained Place
216,718
9.14%
2 / 21
5th

Regional election[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats +/- Place Note
2016 153,099 5.7
18 / 675
6th Participated in coalition with Party of Civic Rights
2020 169,978 6.1
35 / 675
Increase 17 5th

Prague municipal elections[edit]

Year Leader Vote Vote % Seats +/− Place Position
2018 Hynek Beran 895,859 3.54%
0 / 65
0 6th

Representation[edit]

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

European parliament[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Seznam politických stran a hnutí - Ministerstvo vnitra České republiky". aplikace.mvcr.cz.
  2. ^ demokracie, SPD - Svoboda a přímá (11 September 2017). "Tomio Okamura: První číslo nových novin SPD - Na vlastní oči | SPD - Svoboda a přímá demokracie". www.spd.cz. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Staré strany ztrácejí tisíce členů, netáhnou už ani hnutí". Novinky.cz (in Czech). Novinky.cz. Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d "European Election Watch Czech Republic". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "Czechia". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  6. ^ "Volební zisky evropské krajní pravice jsou zatím vyšší než české". ceskapozice.lidovky.cz (in Czech). 23 December 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Revoluce v Evropě? Něco se děje, podívejte se na Česko, píše se v Británii". EuroZprávy.cz. Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  8. ^ Beran, Vojtěch (13 November 2016). "42 "vlasteneckých" a nacionalistických skupin v Česku". Echo24.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "Okamura registers new anti-immigrant party Freedom and Direct Democracy". spd.cz. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Czech far-right leader Tomio Okamura urges citizens to walk pigs near mosques to defend country from Islam". 5 January 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  11. ^ a b Brack, Nathalie; Startin, Nicholas (2015). "Introduction: Euroscepticism, from the margins to the mainstream". International Political Science Review. 36 (3): 244. doi:10.1177/0192512115577231. ISSN 0192-5121. S2CID 145663358.
  12. ^ a b "Czech President Calls EU 'Cowards' on Yerushalayim". Hamodia. 10 December 2017.
  13. ^ "New Czech PM Babiš prepares to talk migration, reforms at EU summit". Euractiv. 7 December 2017.
  14. ^ Far-right scores surprise success in Czech election. Reuters. Authors - Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka. Published 21 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  15. ^ Far-Right Czech election ‘kingmaker’ calls for referendum on EU membership ‘just like Britain’. The Telegraph. Author - Matthew Day. Published 19 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  16. ^ Babiš’ Czech Republic: too thin a gruel?. openDemocracy. Author - Michal Simecka. Published 20 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017
  17. ^ Fernando Casal Bertoa. "The Czech Republic finally has a new government: it has a prosecuted populist Prime Minister and is supported by the Communists". Who Governs Europe. Retrieved 2021-10-16.
  18. ^ "New Czech PM Babiš prepares to talk migration, reforms at EU summit". Euractiv. 7 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Czech far right sets 'Czexit' referendum law as price for post-vote talks". Reuters. 2021-09-22. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  20. ^ "What chance of a referendum on 'Czexit' after this weekend's election?". euronews. 2021-10-08. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  21. ^ "Czech Republic at heart of fight for Europe". POLITICO. 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2021-10-16.
  22. ^ a b "Okamura tells daily Freedom and Direct Democracy Party wants to be part of coalition government". Radio Prague International. 2017-10-23. Retrieved 2021-10-16.
  23. ^ "» Rozhovor Tomia Okamury pro EuroZprávy.cz". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Okamura a Fiala skončili v hnutí Úsvit, zakládají novou stranu". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Řekli v Událostech, komentářích — Události, komentáře". www.ceskatelevize.cz. Archived from the original on October 9, 2015.
  26. ^ "Tomio Okamura svolal všechny své lidi a bylo rušno: Nepřátelští vetřelci! Pokus o vraždu. Delegace od Marine Le Pen i provolání k Zemanovi". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  27. ^ Mouvement pour une Europe des Nations et des Libertés (19 October 2017). "Marine Le Pen supports Tomio Okamura, President of the SPD, member of the MENF" – via YouTube.
  28. ^ "Le Pen to appear at December event with Okamura in Prague - Radio Prague". 15 November 2017.
  29. ^ "Czechia sends representatives of populist ANO, neo-fascist SPD and Communists to European Parliament". intellinews.com. 2019-05-28. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  30. ^ "Hyťhová opouští poslanecký klub SPD, bude spolupracovat s Trikolórou". iDNES.cz. 27 July 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  31. ^ "Results". E15.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 2021-10-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ Pánik, Jan (15 September 2022). "Blaško odešel z SPD. Holedbáte se demokracií, ale realita je zcela odlišná, napsal Okamurovi". forum24.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  33. ^ "Program".
  34. ^ "Program".
  35. ^ "Far-right leaders gather in Prague ahead of EU vote". Euractive. 25 April 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  36. ^ "In Prague, Europe's far-right celebrates the Austrian coalition". Euractive. 17 December 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  37. ^ "Far-right scores surprise success in Czech election". Reuters. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  38. ^ "Okamura chce s SPD do vlády. Podmínkou je pro něj zákon o referendu". Euro.cz (in Czech). 6 October 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  39. ^ "Nové straníky táhne do partají volební úspěch i propad". Novinky.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  40. ^ "Okamura zítra obhajuje post šéfa SPD". MF Dnes. Retrieved 14 July 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hloušek, Vít; Kopeček, Lubomír; Vodová, Petra (2020). The Rise of Entrepreneurial Parties in European Politics. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-41916-5.

External links[edit]