STAN (Starostové a nezávislí; Mayors and Independents) is a Czech political party focused mainly on localism promoting community involvement of municipalities and regions. Led by Vít Rakušan (Minister of the Interior), STAN is also represented in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and European Parliament.
STAN grew out of NSK (Nezávislí starostové pro kraj; Independent Mayors for Region) founded in 2004 and transformed in 2009. Led by its first Leader Petr Gazdík and Deputy Leader Stanislav Polčák elected in 2009, STAN started co-operating with the liberal-conservative TOP 09 at all political levels; with Petr Gazdík leading the TOP 09 and STAN parliamentary group. In 2013, the said co-operation was de facto curtailed to the parliamentary level, i.e. was continued only in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. In 3/2014, Petr Gazdík was succeeded in the STAN leadership by Martin Půta (Governor, Liberecký Region); and became the First Deputy Leader deputised by Stanislav Polčák. Sharing common candidates standing in the 2014 European Parliament election, STAN and TOP 09 polled 15.95% of the votes and gained four seats with one being taken by STAN Deputy Leader Stanislav Polčák. In 2016, Martin Půta was succeeded by Petr Gazdík leading STAN into the regional and Senate elections.
The party’s top priorities include: good stewardship, high-quality education, environmental care and heritage protection – investing in education is key to the future prosperity that, however, must be built on the principles of good stewardship (management of public funds, use of energy resources and prudential landscape interventions). In promoting the principle of subsidiarity, STAN encourages localism, decentralisation, reduced bureaucracy and corruption clampdown. STAN further promotes: European integration, high-quality education, investments in science, state economy driven by the principles of a free market with the social aspect and sanctity of private property in mind, and environment protection.
STAN FUNDAMENTAL VALUES
1. BASIS AND FOUNDATION OF EUROPE AND CZECH REPUBLIC
STAN is a political party that bases its manifesto and principles on the European roots of the Jewish and Christian ethics, recognises the European openness, humanity and morality, and draws from the legacy of the independent country built on the equality of men, women and opportunities. STAN promotes secularism with the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and zero involvement of religion with the ordinary social and political activities of a country.
2. FREE PERSON AND FREE SOCIETY
A free person and free society are the fundamental STAN values. STAN promotes a social system under which the daily life and freedom are regulated by public authorities only to the extent necessary; with the human life and freedom being accorded the highest protection. Freedom of education, science, universities and human reasoning form the basis of a free European society with the human rights and freedom being the key constitutional rights and principles in our constitutional order.
3. SOLID INTERNATIONAL POSITION
STAN contributes to placing the Czech Republic among countries with a dignified and respected place in the world and promotes strengthened co-operation among EU Member States; bearing in mind that a peaceful and free future of our country can only be achieved on the back of a solid Euro-Atlantic alliance – with the Europe’s future being based on the responsibility, mutual co-operation and solidarity of EU Member States and patterned on the strong agreement and identification of the EU citizens with the major steps taken by the European Union.
4. DECENTRALISATION AND LOCALISM
STAN aims to establish a functioning state, bottom-up, supported by well-established local and regional governments; with the right to get involved in decision-making of a democratic government as a part of the human freedom and a free community as the pillar of a nation with a place where the human relationships and sense of togetherness can be developed and traditions protected.
5. INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY
A social system is to reflect responsible citizens who provide for themselves and their families and who – if needed – get assisted by a local community in addressing their issues outstripping their capacities; with the regions getting involved where the opportunities of local communities get exhausted and with the government being viewed as a last resort.
6. RULE OF LAW AND EQUALITY
STAN promotes confidence in the rule of law, better laws and law enforcement – no law can be enforced where the foundations of the state are undermined. Powers vested in the public authorities can only be executed subject to the principles of the rule of law; with the laws being respected also by the government itself. STAN rejects any manifestations of ethnic, racial and religious intolerance and promotes social equality including equal opportunities and obligations.
7. PRIVATE PROPERTY AND SOLIDARITY
The sanctity of private property is key to a functioning state and free market. STAN promotes the solidarity of responsible citizens in providing for a decent life of the community members (in particular of that overcoming hardship), universal access to education, healthcare and age assistance.
8. GOOD STEWARDSHIP
In exploiting the natural or economic resources, STAN promotes good stewardship. Aiming to pass favourable environment to the next generations, STAN promotes balanced management of public funds and elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy.
9. SERVICE TO CITIZENS
STAN understands the performance of public functions as a service to the citizens in the implementation of democratic rules of governance and demands transparency in public life, awareness of citizens and elimination of corruption and abuse of power. To the public administration, STAN will promote capable, responsible and confident citizens able to take responsibility for themselves, their families, employees and society.
10. UNITE, NOT DIVIDE
STAN feels it important to name also painful social issues – in the raw, unvarnished way and with confidence in reason and responsibility of the citizens. STAN promotes unity rather than division in executing the vested powers. In co-operating with the affiliated parties or arguing with the opponents alike, STAN always respects free political competition.
Major Policy Issues
Budgetary Allocation of Taxes
With the adjusted concept of income distribution introduced by the amended Act on Budgetary Allocation of Taxes presented by STAN for debate before the Parliament, a higher percentage of revenue collected from taxes is shared with and higher shared amounts are distributed to particular municipalities. Under the original concept, the revenue from shared taxes levied and the shared amount distributed to small municipalities and the Capital City of Prague on a per capita basis differed by 6.5-fold. Passed by the Parliament in 2012 with effect from the beginning of 2013, the amended act reduced the said figure to 3.2 and provided for CZK 12 billion being annually shared with and distributed to the municipalities.
Right of Domicile
STAN is of the opinion that the eligibility to and disbursement of social benefits in payment are to be discussed locally rather than centrally as the local communities know it best who is in need of such support and who is not. STAN thus promotes that the amount of social benefits to be disbursed by virtue of law to those in need be determined by the respective municipalities taking into account the beneficiary’s property situation known to the municipality in question; and not by the government agencies located far from the place where the issue has arisen and is faced by a particular person. STAN is further of the opinion that the municipalities should also have the right to decide on additional support in excess of that provided by the state, such as social housing – citizens in need will be granted a right to dwell in a certain municipality and the said municipality will receive state funds that it can use to run necessary facilities such as kindergartens or nursing homes intended for its citizens.
The principle of subsidiarity is accorded great importance. Given the EU membership, STAN encourages localism rather than centralisation and promotes community involvement of municipalities and regions and preservation of their rights.