Prague - For the first time in the history of the Czech Republic, a political party was banned. The Supreme Administrative Court dissolved the far-right Workers' Party (Dělnická strana), complying with the government's proposal.
The long-anticipated verdict was announced by chairman of the senate of the court Vojtěch Šimíček. A handful of the party's supporters present in the courtroom reacted with surprise.
It was for the second time that the government and the Interior Ministry tried to persuade the court that the Workers' Party was illegal. This time, they were successful.
"Direct threat to democracy"
Šimíček said that the court recognized the relevance of the arguments presented by the government - above all the accusation that the party aimed at altering the democratic establishment of the Czech Republic. „It (the party) represents a direct threat to our democracy. The party wants to replace the current system with a National Socialist totalitarian regime," the court ruled after having painstakingly studied the party's program as well as official speeches of the party officials.
"In their speeches, the top members of the party attributed negative qualities to ethnic and other minorities such as the Roma, the Vietnamese, or homosexuals. These groups are supposed to be responsible for the problems in 'our beautiful world'," said the court, explaining that such discourses produce hate in the society.
The Workers' Party has complained to the Constitutional Court, however this objection cannot postpone the effect of the Supreme Court's ruling.
The party's chairman Tomáš Vandas said he wants to run in the parliamentary elections in May 2010, however he does not know yet for which party.
Getting inspiration from Nazi Germany
The court ruled that the party's program and symbols were inspired by the politics of Nazi Germany.
In its political manifest, the Workers' Party said it was planning to create a register of the citizens that would classify them according to their ethnicity and nationality. The court paralleled this measure with the Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany. "The party planned to change the Czech constitution so that the citizens of Czech nationality are granted certain privileges," said the court.
„The Workers' Party is xenophobic, jingoistic, populist and homophobic," concluded Šimíček.
Importantly, the government succeeded in linking the party with some illegal militant groups such as the National Resistance (Národní odpor). „The Workers' Party managed to unite a significant part of the far right," said the court.
The first attempt at banning the party was made in March 2009 by then Interior Minister Ivan Langer. However, the proposal was ruled out by the court as ill-founded.
The second proposal was much better prepared though - it included references to the articles published on the web-pages of the Workers' Party or the National Resistance, and expert opinions. The government hired a group of lawyers headed by Tomáš Sokol who tried to prove the links between the party and the underground neo-Nazi groups in the Czech Republic. They provide the court with a list of thirty events organized jointly by these subjects, including the infamous Janov riots from 2008 or May day marches.
Read more: Fifteen injured in Litvínov far-right rally