Czech election ads take bizarre turn

The campaigns for the October Municipal and Senate elections in Czechia are a bizarre mix of extremism, racism and absurdity.

Sofija Kordic
Sofija Kordic NewsMavens, Czechia
Czech election ads take bizarre turn - NewsMavens
Petr Vokral. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Instead of emphasizing the issues facing politicians elected in municipal elections -- housing, infrastructure, social policy, ecology -- many Czech politicians are instead playing on anti-Muslim feelings to incite fear, insecurity and hatred.

These are especially noticeable in recent bizarre pre-election videos promising Czech voters the sun and the moon as long as they buy into racist stereotypes.

One of the most discussed videos on social networks is the one with a young man in dreadlocks laying on the muddy ground, apparently stoned, and with a caption stating “Is this one going to vote too? Would you let him decide for you? Come vote!” ODS, the liberal conservative party placed the video on its Facebook pages. 

The current mayor of Brno, Petr Vokřál, in the video of the strongest and ruling party in the country, the populistic movement ANO, appears in his own video dancing and rapping with young female dancers inviting citizens to join his crew and appealing for votes at the end.  

The next elections will be for municipal positions as well as for the upper house of the Parliament. The video of the Senate candidate, Michal Maly, from the right-libertarian Party of Free Citizens, shows a vision of the Prague metro in 2025: a man on the platform of a metro station whose name is written in Arabic letters, watching a train passing by and listening to an announcement in an Arabic language. Then he says: “Of course this is just play acting, but we cannot exclude this from happening.”

Details from the story:

  • Alžběta Králová, Political Marketing expert says that ODS party, along with others, is afraid of the rising popularity of the Pirate party, and that video depicting young man with dreadlocks is undignified. Defining itself as a worthy party shouldn't mean insulting others using stereotypes, says Králová.
  • The deadlock video is seen by many as a direct attack on the Pirate party, the third largest party in the country, (whose 38 year old leader, Ivan Bartoš, wears dreads), which has a huge electoral base in Prague.
  • In another campaign video the Social Democratic candidate for the mayor of the city of Brno, capital of Moravia region, Oliver Pospíšil, pops out from a waste container, telling a citizen who is throwing her paper trash that seniors won’t pay municipal garbage fees.
  • In his dancing ad, Vokřál imitates the dance moves from last year's Skoda company video on Taiwan, which went viral as the most bizarre add in the car industry.
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