Sunday, 18 November 2018

PM Babiš: Okamura's apology for Lety statements sufficient

ČTK |
8 February 2018

Prague, Feb 7 (CTK) - Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) head Tomio Okamura has apologised for his words about the Roma concentration camp in Lety, south Bohemia, which PM Andrej Babis (ANO) considers sufficient, Babis said on Wednesday in reaction to the critics' proposal for Okamura to be sacked as lower house deputy head.

The proposal was made by the Christian Democratic Union (KDU-CSL).

In January, Okamura said the wartime camp in Lety was not fenced and people could freely move in it. Later he admitted that there had been a fence in Lety and apologised for having asserted the opposite. He insisted nevertheless, that the camp mostly remained unguarded and people could move freely around.

The Prague Jewish Community and the Museum of Roma Culture said Okamura's statements amount to the Holocaust denial.

The KDU-CSL wants Okamura to be sacked as lower house deputy chairman over his statements. The plan has been supported by the Mayors and Independents' (STAN) movement. The three parties have together 23 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.

"I watched Mr Okamura speaking on Czech Television (CT) last night and saying that this is misinterpretation of his statements. He actually denied this and he apologised more or less. I was not present when he [originally] said it. However, based on how he commented on it [on CT], I think it [his explanation and apology] is sufficient," Babis said when asked whether he would support Okamura's dismissal.

Babis's ANO has 78 seats in parliament, Okamura's SPD has 22.

Babis's election winning-ANO formed a minority cabinet in December, but it lost a confidence vote in parliament in January. Babis has launched new government-forming talks with parties.

He has repeatedly dismissed the speculation that he might ally with Okamura's rightist SPD which observers label populist, xenophobic and anti-European.

rtj/dr/pv

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