Prague, Oct 10 (BNA): Czech voters expelled communists from parliament on Saturday for the first time since the end of World War II, voting for a party whose predecessors ruled the central European country from 1948 until the 1989 Velvet Revolution. It ushered in democracy.
The Communists imprisoned tens of thousands in forced labor camps in the 1950s and brutally suppressed opponents such as playwright-turned-President Vaclav Havel, but they remained in parliament after the revolution.
In this week’s elections, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia received 3.62% of the vote with nearly all constituencies reporting, less than the 5% needed to enter Parliament and perhaps a final chapter for a party whose membership has gradually shrunk with age. diminished.
Jerry Gruntorad, 69, a former dissident who signed Dissident Manifesto 77 and was imprisoned by communist authorities for subversion from 1981 to 1985, “It pleases me, it pleases me very much,” but it is too late,” she stated.
“It was one of the last communist parties in the world except for the Chinese and Cuban parties that kept its name. The others at least renamed themselves and started behaving a little differently.”
Voters also handed a defeat to Prime Minister Andre Babis’ ANO party against the center-right opposition group Together in a surprising result.
After 1989, the Communists sought to appeal to elderly citizens and the Czech working class but never wavered with younger voters and failed to shake up the party’s history with others as authoritarian rulers who stifled freedom.
“I am very disappointed that it is a really big failure,” said Communist Party leader Vojtek Filip, who also resigned.
Havel opposed banning the party – which has resisted EU and NATO membership and maintained friendly relations with Russia and China – despite public calls to do so.
The Communists remained mostly in isolation after 1989, although they cooperated with other parties seeking votes to pass legislation in Parliament. They were also close to the current president, Milos Zeman.
The party regained influence in 2018 when Papis – a former member of the Communist Party – relied on them to support his minority government with the Social Democrats.
It was the closest party to power since 1989, but it also appears to represent their last act as a political force in the former Soviet bloc country.
said Hana Balkova, 74, who left the country under threat from the secret police.