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Party of Free Citizens

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Subject: Czech legislative election, 2013, European Parliament election, 2009 (Czech Republic), European Parliament election, 2014, European Parliament election, 2014 (Czech Republic), Czech Senate election, 2010
Collection: 2009 Establishments in the Czech Republic, Classical Liberal Parties, Conservative Parties in the Czech Republic, Eurosceptic Parties, Eurosceptic Parties in the Czech Republic, Euroscepticism in the Czech Republic, Liberal Parties in the Czech Republic, Libertarian Parties, Libertarian Parties in the Czech Republic, Libertarianism in the Czech Republic, Political Parties Established in 2009, Right-Wing Parties in the Czech Republic
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Party of Free Citizens

Free Citizens Party
Strana svobodných občanů
Leader Petr Mach
Founded 14 February 2009
Headquarters Perucká 2196/14
120 00 Prague 2
Ideology Classical liberalism[1]
Libertarianism[1]
Conservative liberalism[1]
Euroscepticism[2][3]
Political position Right-wing
International affiliation Interlibertarians[4]
European Parliament group Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy
Colours Green and White
Chamber of Deputies
0 / 200
Senate
0 / 81
European Parliament
1 / 21
Website
.cz.svobodniwww
Politics of the Czech Republic
Political parties
Elections

The Party of Free Citizens or the Free Citizens' Party[5] (Czech: Strana svobodných občanů, Svobodní) is a classical liberal[1] eurosceptic political party in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 2009 by Petr Mach, an economist and university professor of Macroeconomics. Before taking his position as MEP, he taught at two private business universities in Prague.

It ran in the 2009 European Parliament election in the Czech Republic; among its goals were the failure of the Treaty of Lisbon and forcing a referendum on introduction of the euro in the Czech Republic. It was in talks with Declan Ganley to be part of his EU-wide Libertas movement, but the talks failed.[6] Its logo is a ram on a green field.[7][8] Following the 2014 European Parliament election, the party's elected MEP joined the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) Group.

Currently, the party has one MEP elected (the leader, Petr Mach). Several county councilors successfully ran on the party's ballot in 2010 and 38 councilors held positions in mostly small towns and cities. The party will set up ballot papers in Autumn 2014 as well.

Contents

  • Philosophy 1
  • Membership 2
  • Party's symbols 3
  • Electorate 4
  • Election results 5
    • Chamber of Deputies 5.1
    • European Parliament 5.2
  • EU and Euroscepticism 6
  • Party's Manifesto 7
  • Footnotes 8
  • External links 9

Philosophy

The party can be described as libertarian with opposition to high government involvement in the economy[9][10] and personal lives,[11] and centralization of political power. Its members are advocates of the free market and often subscribe to the Austrian School of economic thought. They seek to lower tax rates and restrict state redistribution of wealth to a minimum,[10][12] and introduce a constitutional amendment disallowing an unbalanced budget.[12] They also believe that downsizing the government would leave less space for corruption, a somewhat problematic issue of Czech politics.[11]

Membership

The membership of the party consists mostly of minarchists, anarcho-capitalists, right-wing libertarians and conservative libertarians.

People can choose from two statuses; to either become a member or to be a registered supporter. Both of the statuses entitle to vote in the primary elections and both can appear and be nominated on the ballot paper. However, only members can elect the leadership of the party.

The Republic's Leadership (Republikove predsednictvo) consists of one president and four vice-presidents. The five have a common responsibility for the party and with the help of the council they make official statements and direct the political affairs of the party. The candidacy for presidency and vice-presidency is separate and members elect them on the summit. After every elections to Chamber of Deputies (The lower house of Czech parliament) the presidency's mandates is over and new leadership has to be elected.

The Republic's Council (Republikovy vybor) consists of 28 members, the Republic's Leadership and 14 heads of each of the Regional's Councils. They are elected via primaries. They help making decisions aka ballot papers approval for Municipalities elections and they solve misconducts etc...

The Regional's Councils (Krajske predsednictvo). There are 14 districts of Czech Republic and each has its own presidency as the Republic's one. They decide about new members and money for the local campaign, etc.

Party's symbols

The British racing green symbolizes freedom. The party's leader Petr Mach once stated: "Freedom is a lifestyle."

The ram symbolizes the stubborn defensive position towards all endeavor to suppress freedom.

Electorate

Student elections show that if the youth and teens would vote, the support is somehow 4-8%. Apprenticies and industrial high schools lead over grammar schools and private schools which is not in corellation with how the adult vote.

The adult electorate of the party are mostly higher educated college graduates, secular and living in larger cities economically active and working either in IT or as economists. The stronghold of the party is traditionally Prague. Other districts where the party has a lead are cities with lower unemployment such as Ceske Budejovice, Liberec, Hradec Kralove, Brno and Zlin.

The party is also popular among small business owners as well. Every year the party organizes a manifest stand-up in front of the Tax offices (Czech IRS) where members and party supporters promote lower taxation policies, pointing out the height of taxation in Czech Republic. This often meets with a positive reaction from the business owners.

The polls (2014) predict the party will succeed in Prague municipality and several larger cities in Bohemia, such as Ceske Budejovice and Hradec Kralove where the polling reaches app. 5%.

Election results

Party of Free Citizen's regularly sets up candidates and appears on the ballot in major elections. The candidates are chosen by primary vote on the internet.

Chamber of Deputies

Year # of total votes Vote % Seats
2010 38,897 0.74% 0
2013 122,564 2.46% 0

European Parliament

Year # of total votes Vote % Seats
2009 29,846 1.27% 0
2014 79,540 5.24% 1

EU and Euroscepticism

The party’s position on the European Union is eurosceptic. The Free Citizens' Party does not see any possibility how to reform such undemocratic and bureaucratic colossus. The party belong among liberal eurosceptics who do not stress nationalism and it does not oppose the EU because of any nationalistic views. The motivation is purely the unrestricted market and civic liberties which the Union suppresses.

The party supports the idea of independent democratic states cooperating on the basis of free trade and voluntary partnership.

Party's Manifesto

Defense: The party views the best option for peace as to be part of NATO but majority of the members opposes the idea of involvement in conflicts such as in Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali. EU should not have a common army. NATO should be a coalition for defense only.

Drugs: Most of the members agree on decriminalization of marihuana. The party rejects the idea of drug war.

Budget: The party advocates for lowering of the national debt and as a tool the party wants to propose the balanced budget. Balanced budget would be incorporated to the constitution of the Czech Republic based on the Swiss model.

Internet regulation The party does not approve ACTA treaty and other internet regulation laws. One of the main reasons for this position is to preserve the freedom of speech. The internet service provider should be responsible for the voluntary regulation and traffic monitoring, not the state.

Europe: The regulations and meaningless restrictions of European Union led the Party of Free Citizens to the conclusion that EU is not libertarian enough. The bureaucracy and money waste is higher than benefits. EU funds lead to corruption and only selected few get rich by getting money from EU. However, the Party believes in free trade, free movement (not just in EU) and cooperation. As an alternative to EU, the party seeks membership in EFTA which would preserve the pros of the European cooperation and leaves the cons of the ever closer union.

Direct democracy: Citizens should have a right to reject laws which were imposed on the citizens via popular veto. This model can be used not only on the state level but local just as well.

Animals: The party opposes pet-taxation. People should not be discriminated by having a dog.

Education: Education from the first grade to the secondary education should be kept as it is (the Czechs can attend either public or private schools) with an exception of leaving out the 9th grade in elementary schools (The Czech pupils attend elementary schools for 5, 7 or 9 years and high-schools for 8, 6 or 4 years). By shortening the elementary education, the party seeks saving money and pushing teachers for efficiency. The college education with exceptions should not be for free and should be privatized.

Religion: Party respects everyone's choice of religious freedom. However, the church should be completely separated from state. The party values humanism as one of the highest priorities.

National Debt: One of the tools how to decrease the national debt is to dissolve some state-owned offices which, as the party believes, do not create real valuable jobs bringing no real positive impact on people's lives. These offices include for example Energy Regulatory Office, Czech Tourism, Czech Invest, Transport Research Center, Czech Bank of Exports, Customs Administration, Czech Telecommunication Office and etc.

Copyright: The party respects the right of property and private ownership. However, the recording companies should not write the laws of the Czech Republic. The way how to get rid of piracy is to dissolve the Copyright Protection Union, the state-directed office which taxes people for buying data storage, organizing concerts. The office serves as an agent provocateur and actively, not passively seek copyright infringement. By dissolving the state-owned office, the state will save money and people will pay less copyright-taxes.

Value-added tax: The current VAT in Czech Republic is 21% and for basic goods 15% which is one of the highest in the world. The party seeks lowering the tax burden in this area by for example lowering taxes on diapers and other products for children. The party argues the VAT has risen because of the Czech membership in EU. Lowering VAT helps the poor and boosts demand. Some Czechs have over the years become shopping tourists to Germany and instead of buying the goods home, they travel to buy food in Germany and clothes in UK.

Sales tax: The party holds a strong position of lowering the tax burden on gas, electricity and oil-products. The reason for the height of the price is because of meaningless support for green energy which effects especially the lower class which find itself in energy poverty. From every liter of gas (app 35 Korunas per liter), 2 Korunas are reinvested to back to colza growing. The colza fields are blathing the Czech landscape and the prize of food products grew. Everyone using electricity has to pay taxes on solar energy which turned out as one of the biggest corruption scandal in support of renewable energy.

Environment: The Czech nature should be protected but the greatest threat to democracy is fundamental environmentalism by endless support of useless and ineffective renewable energy sources. The party is a strong critic of the environmentalism and therefor the party gets head-in-head with the Green Party.

LBGT: As a libertarian party, the party agrees on mutual respect of people of different sexes and sex-orientation. The party supports civil unions (which currently is in practice by the law). The party does not attend the pride marches.

Direct Taxation: The Czech tax system is very difficult and there are lot of various taxes. Some taxes are even more expensive to collect than to redistribute effectively. The party does not want to abolish taxes but wants to lower them, collect them effectively and simply.

Taxes which the party views as completely obsolete:

  • Real estate tax (0.2% of GDP - not controlled by the state but left to the people)
  • Electricity and coal tax (0.05% of GDP)
  • Heritage tax (in red numbers - it costs more than what it earns)
  • Income tax (3% of GDP)
  • Highway tax (0.1% of GDP)

Media: Everyone who owns TV has to pay 2,146 Korunas in fees (100 USD) every year to finance the Czech TV and Czech Radio Station. This is viewed by the party as the state-legalized thievery. The other TV stations in Czech Republic are private (NOVA, Prima, Barrandov) and they are financed commercially. The Czech TV is not fully independent because it is controlled by the politics and public financing.

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d https://is.muni.cz/th/397608/fss_b/Strana_svobodnych_obcanu_z_hlediska_politicky_ideji_-_Navrat__Miroslav.pdf
  2. ^ Negrine, Ralph; Stetka, Vaclav; Fialová, Marta (2013), "Campaigning in but not for Europe: European Campaign Strategies in the UK and the Czech Republic", Political Communication in European Parliamentary Elections (Ashgate) 
  3. ^ Horváth, Kata (2012), "Silencing and Naming the Difference", The Gypsy 'menace': Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics (C. Hurst): 154 
  4. ^ http://interlibertarian.altervista.org/INTERLIBERTARIANS/Members_page.html
  5. ^ http://www.svobodni.cz/files/docs/eng-press-release.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/0112/1231515550133.html
  7. ^ http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=1231151636694
  8. ^ http://praguemonitor.com/2009/01/12/websites-new-partys-name-party-free-citizens
  9. ^ Zjednodušení práce at svobodni.cz
  10. ^ a b Svobodní chtějí rušit daně at svobodni.cz
  11. ^ a b Významná redukce byrokracie at svobodni.cz
  12. ^ a b Státní zadlužování musí skončit at svobodni.cz

External links

  • Official page
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