“You won't see me in Brussels”, says newly elected Czech MEP

Marek Pokorný Mikuláš Klang Marek Pokorný, Mikuláš Klang, Ivan Eckhardt
27. 5. 2014 11:29
Czech non-parliamentary eurosceptic Free Citizens' Party has surprisingly won one seat in European Parliament last weekend
Free Citizens' Party chairman Petr Mach speaking at a press conference
Free Citizens' Party chairman Petr Mach speaking at a press conference | Foto: Svobodni.cz

Prague - “I have no intention to move to Brussels and join the committees,” said Free Citizens' Party chairman Petr Mach, who was surprisingly elected to the European Parliament last weekend. Mach, whose party is not represented in the Czech parliament, said he will only vote in Strasbourg.

“I want to keep my job. Not only that I enjoy it, I also want to keep contact with reality,” said Mach, who teaches economy at two universities in Prague. He added though that he will have to reduce his workload at the universities.

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Mach's assistants will monitor the developments in Brussels for him. “I don't want to neglect something. I want to know about everything.”

In its electoral campaign, the Free Citizens' Party vowed to fight against “euro-nonsenses” and “euro-bureaucracy”. Mach for example says he wants to introduce the option to leave the eurozone.

According to political analysts, the party's surprising success was mostly caused by a low voter turnout. Voter turnout in the Czech Republic was only about 18.2 percent according to the Czech Press Agency (CTK), the second lowest turnout in the EU after Slovakia and the lowest turnout in Czech history.

“For many people, (European politics) is not clear. Moreover, Europe is trying to find a new direction. It has overcome a big crisis, but now it is at a crossroads, it is facing a question where to next?” said political scientist Vladimira Dvorakova.

“The long-term trend is that people are not interested in the elections to the European Parliament. Moreover, the Czech society is disproportionately hostile to the EU,” said Czech sociologist Jan Spousta.

“It is very easy to criticize the European Union, and such critique will win more support than a party with a pro-European orientation,” said political scientist Tomas Lebeda.

Analysts also point out that many right-wing voters who previously voted for the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) have now opted for Mach's organization.

The party was founded in 2009 and Mach has been its only chairman.

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