Freedom and Direct Democracy

Last updated
Freedom and Direct Democracy
Svoboda a přímá demokracie
AbbreviationSPD
Leader Tomio Okamura
Deputy Leaders Radim Fiala
Ivan David
Radek Rozvoral
Radovan Vích
Founded5 May 2015 (2015-05-05)
Split from Dawn of Direct Democracy
HeadquartersRytířská 6, Prague [1]
NewspaperNa vlastní oči [2]
Youth wing Mladí Espéďáci
Membership (2021)9,000 [3]
Ideology
Political position Right-wing [12] [13] to
far-right [4] [14] [15] [16]
European affiliation Identity and Democracy Party
European Parliament group Identity and Democracy
Colours  Blue
Chamber of Deputies
20 / 200
Senate
0 / 81
European Parliament
2 / 21
Regional councils
35 / 675
Governors of the regions
0 / 13
Local councils
155 / 62,300
Website
http://www.spd.cz/

Freedom and Direct Democracy (Czech : Svoboda a přímá demokracie, SPD) is a right-wing populist political party in the Czech Republic. [17] It is led by Tomio Okamura and it holds 20 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

Contents

It has been described as right-wing [12] [18] or far-right on the political spectrum. [19] [20] [21] It expresses opposition to immigration [9] [22] and it is staunchly Eurosceptic, [11] while in their political program they state their support for direct democracy. [5]

History

The party was founded in May 2015 by Tomio Okamura and Radim Fiala when eight Members of Parliament split from the Dawn of Direct Democracy parliamentary group. As the party was newly-formed in that parliamentary term, these MPs sat as independents until the 2017 Czech legislative election. Following that election, the party now holds 22 seats in the Czech Chamber of Deputies.

Freedom and Direct Democracy is named after the European Parliament Eurosceptic political group Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy. [23] [24] [25] The party has links with Marine Le Pen's National Front which is a member of the Europe of Nations and Freedom, a separate Eurosceptic political group in the European Parliament [26] and Marine Le Pen endorsed SPD before the 2017 Czech legislative election. [27]

In December 2017, SPD hosted a conference of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom in Prague, with parties such as the French National Front, Dutch Party for Freedom, Freedom Party of Austria and Lega Nord of Italy. [28]

In 2019, following the European Parliament elections, the SPD entered the European Parliament with two MEPs, who sit with the Identity and Democracy group. [29]

In July 2020, SPD MP Tereza Hyťhová defected to become the third MP for the Tricolour Citizens' Movement. [30]

During the 2021 Czech legislative election, the SPD finished fourth with 20 MPs. [31]

Policies and ideology

On its website and policy brief, SPD refers to itself as "a patriotic and democratic movement" with a focus on political reform, law and order, direct democracy, entrepreneurship and national sovereignty. It also claims to seek support from ordinary working citizens, small business owners and middle class professionals. The party also wants to reduce state-surveillance, reform the Czech tax system, support internet freedom and encourage more citizen led participation in national politics. [32] Political commentators have variously described the party as right-wing populist, nationalist and anti-immigration in its platform and rhetoric. [9] [22]

The party is opposed to Czech membership of the European Union and calls for the Czech Republic to leave the bloc. The party also wants to pursue a more restrictive immigration policy, particularly towards immigration from Islamic nations, and rejects multiculturalism. It is strongly opposed to illegal immigration and the EU's policy of migrant quotas. The party itself claims that it does not seek to promote hatred towards any race or culture, but argues for the protection of "Judeo-Christian" values [33] and believes that migrant quotas will lead to the "Islamization" of Europe. [34] [35] [36]

Organisation

Membership

Tomio Okamura often claims that SPD has a membership of thousands of members. In October 2017 he claimed that SPD has 7,000 members, [37] and in November 2017 12,000 members.[ citation needed ] Doubt has been cast on these figures, with the suggestion that Okamura often conflates numbers of supporters with actual members. It was reported in 2015 that SPD had only 20 members, compared to Okamura's claims of 10,000.[ citation needed ] In February 2018 the party stated that it had 1,200 members. [38] The party had 1,400 members in July 2018. [39]

Election results

Chamber of Deputies

YearVoteVote %Seats±PlaceGovernment
2015
8 / 200
Split from Dawn opposition
2017 538,57410.64
22 / 200
Increase2.svg 144thopposition
2021 513,9009.56
20 / 200
Decrease2.svg 24thopposition

Senate

ElectionFirst roundSecond roundSeatsNotes
Votes%PlacesVotes%Places
2016 5,9880.6820th 
0 / 27
2018 7593.347th 
0 / 1
By-election in Trutnov district.
2018 6974.098th 
0 / 1
By-election in Zlín district. Lubomír Nečas was a SPO candidate supported by SPD.
2018 70,1106.447th 
0 / 27
2020 61,3526.157th 
0 / 27

Local election

YearVoteVote %PlaceSeats
2018
155 / 61,892

European Parliament

ElectionVotesShare of votes in %Seats obtainedPlace
2019
216,718
9.14%
2 / 21
5th

Regional election

YearVoteVote %Seats+/-PlaceNote
2016 153,0995.7
18 / 675
6thParticipated in coalition with Party of Civic Rights
2020 169,9786.1
35 / 675
Increase2.svg 175th

Prague municipal elections

YearLeaderVoteVote %Seats+/−PlacePosition
2018 Hynek Beran 895,8593.54%
0 / 65
06th

Representation

Chamber of Deputies

European parliament

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References

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Further reading