Observers sceptical “announced” Roma political party will gain traction
Reports surfaced on Tuesday that a number of representatives of the Czech Roma community are considering founding a new party focussing on Roma issues, including how to tackle long-standing social problems and ethnic tension between communities. Those have grown especially in North Bohemia in recent weeks. While some, like notable sociologist Ivan Gabal have praised the project so far – he told a national Czech newspaper such a party could “change the atmosphere in Czech politics and improve the social climate”, many others are sceptical, saying like parties before it, this one too is unlikely to succeed.
“I have to say in the past we’ve seen many similar attempts to found different Roma parties and I am afraid this project will end exactly the same. In some respect it’s better to do nothing than to make the same mistake again and again. Founding a political party is not easy: you have to take certain steps and follow certain procedures. The problem is that a lot of local Roma representatives, associations, NGOs and so on, suffer from a similar problem: they are founded on familial or local grounds and operate in local conditions which do not translate well on a larger scale. Shared goals and aims often fall apart when funnelled into larger projects of this kind.”
“The fact is that the potential voter base is separated from the elite and there are certain cultural and educational differences. Also, half of the country’s Roma now live in ghettos and have problems of their own. So there is no real way for them to even be reached by political parties. If I see hope anywhere, it is not in this project but in individuals: young activists involved in NGOs or the media: I think they can make a difference.”