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Czech voters oust communists from parliament for first time since 1948

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PRAGUE, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Czech voters evicted the communists from parliament on Saturday for the first time since the tip of World War Two, voting out a celebration whose forebears dominated the central European nation from 1948 till the Velvet Revolution of 1989 that ushered in democracy.

The communists jailed tens of 1000’s in pressured labor camps within the Nineteen Fifties and brutally repressed dissidents reminiscent of playwright-turned-president Vaclav Havel, however remained in parliament following the revolution.

In this week’s election, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia took 3.62% of the votes with almost all precincts reporting, lower than the 5% wanted to enter parliament and doubtlessly marking a closing chapter for a celebration that has regularly shrunk as its ageing membership dwindled.

“It pleases me, it pleases me a lot,” Jiri Gruntorad, 69, a former dissident who signed the dissident Charter 77 assertion and was jailed for subversion from 1981 to 1985 by the communist authorities, advised Reuters. “But it’s coming too late.”

“It was one of the last communist parties in the world apart from the Chinese and Cuban ones that held on to its name. The others have at least renamed themselves and started behaving a little differently.”

Voters additionally handed a defeat to Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ ANO celebration in opposition to centre-right opposition group Together in a shock consequence. learn extra

After 1989, the communists sought to attraction to senior residents and dealing class Czechs however they by no means resonated with youthful voters and did not shake the celebration’s historical past with others as a totalitarian rulers who had stifled freedom.

“I am very disappointed because it is a really big failure,” stated Communist Party chief Vojtech Filip, who additionally resigned.

POST-1989

Havel opposed banning the celebration — which resisted the nation’s European Union and NATO membership and saved heat ties with Russia and China — regardless of calls from the general public to take action.

The communists lingered largely in isolation after 1989, although they cooperated with different events looking for votes to cross laws in parliament. They had been additionally near present President Milos Zeman.

The celebration regained affect in 2018 when Babis — a former Communist Party member — leaned on them to assist his minority authorities with the Social Democrats.

It was the closest the celebration got here to energy since 1989 however seems additionally to characterize their closing act as a political pressure within the former Soviet-bloc nation.

“I am overjoyed that this era is now over – not only for those of us still living, but also for those who have passed away and who were persecuted by the regime,” said Hana Palcova, 74, who left the country under threat from the secret police.

Writing by Michael Kahn
Additional reporting by Jan Lopatka
Editing by Mike Harrison

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