Communists kicked out of Czech parliament for first time since 1948.

Czech voters evicted the communists from parliament for the first time since the end of the second World War, voting out a party whose forebears had ruled the central European nation from 1948 until the Velvet Revolution of 1989 that ushered in democracy.

The communists jailed tens of thousands in forced labour camps in the 1950s and brutally repressed dissidents such as playwright-turned-president Vaclav Havel, but remained in parliament following the revolution in the then Czechoslovakia.

In this week’s election, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia took 3.62 per cent of the votes with nearly all precincts reporting, less than the 5 per cent needed to enter parliament. This potentially marks a final chapter for a party that has gradually shrunk as its ageing membership has dwindled.

“It pleases me, it pleases me a lot,” Jiri Gruntorad (69), a former dissident who signed the dissident Charter 77 statement and was jailed for subversion from 1981 to 1985 by the communist authorities, told Reuters. “But it’s coming too late.

China and Cuba

“It was one of the last communist parties in the world apart from the Chinese and Cuban ones that held on to its name. The others have at least renamed themselves and started behaving a little differently.”

Voters also handed a defeat to prime minister Andrej Babis’s ANO party, giving their backing to centre-right opposition group Together in a surprise result.

After 1989, the communists sought to appeal to senior citizens and workingclass Czechs, but they never resonated with younger voters and failed to shake off the party’s history as totalitarian rulers who had stifled freedom.

“I am very disappointed because it is a really big failure,” said Communist Party leader Vojtech Filip, who also resigned.

Mr Havel opposed banning the party – which had resisted the country’s European Union and Nato membership and kept warm ties with Russia and China – despite calls from the public to do so.

Lingered in isolation

The communists lingered mostly in isolation after 1989, though they co-operated with other parties seeking votes to pass legislation in parliament. They were also close to current President Milos Zeman.

The party regained influence in 2018 when Mr Babis – a former Communist Party member – leaned on them to support his minority government with the Social Democrats.

It was the closest the party came to power since 1989, but appears also to represent their final act as a political force in the former Soviet-bloc nation.

“I am overjoyed that this era is now over – not only for those of us still living, but also for those who have passed away and who were persecuted by the regime,” said Hana Palcova (74), who left the country under threat from the secret police. – Reuters

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Climate change fuels drought, starvation worldwide - DW News.

Climate change fuels drought, starvation worldwide - DW News.

Six years ago, the UN set the goal of ending world hunger by 2030. Back then it seemed like an attainable target, but not anymore. It's now estimated that over 800 million people around the world do not have enough to eat. The island of Madagascar...

California Residents Getting Deliveries, Drilling Deeper Wells To Get Water.

California Residents Getting Deliveries, Drilling Deeper Wells To Get Water.

NBC News' Jacob Ward speaks to residents in rural areas of California about how the drought has impacted their water usage as the state struggles with supply.  » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of in...

Watch live: Boris Johnson visits scene of MP Sir David Amess’s death as two properties searched.

Watch live: Boris Johnson visits scene of MP Sir David Amess’s death as two properties searched.

Conservative MP Sir David Amess has died after being stabbed multiple times at his constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea. Police have declared the murder a terrorist incident and Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader have laid flowers at t...

Let’s stop talking about celebrity weight loss

Let’s stop talking about celebrity weight loss

Adele’s new single “Easy on Me” has dropped, but people are still talking about her weight loss more than her music. From Adele to Jonah Hill to Lizzo, it seems we can’t stop picking apart celebrities’ bodies, and it needs to stop, says CNN entert...

Live: Biden delivers remarks at 40th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service - NBC News.

Live: Biden delivers remarks at 40th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service - NBC News.

Watch live coverage of President Biden as he delivers remarks at the 40th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service to honor fallen heroes. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and ...

3 46

Power Of Idol: How ‘BTS’ Changes The World From The Global Stage.

Power Of Idol: How ‘BTS’ Changes The World From The Global Stage.

Following their stellar performance and speech at the 2021 United Nations General Assembly, NBC News Now Anchor Aaron Gilchrist takes a closer look at why K-pop group ‘BTS’ is getting involved in global activism, and why it’s working. » Subscribe ...