* Freedom and Direct Democracy a new far-right party
* Founder has urged Czechs to walk pigs near mosques
* Result could give party chance to have say in government
By Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka
PRAGUE, Oct 21 (Reuters) - A far-right party whose leader
wants to quit the EU and urged Czechs to walk pigs near mosques
and stop eating kebabs, performed surprisingly well in an
election, potentially giving it a chance to influence how the
next government is formed.
The Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party rode a wave of
far-right sentiment in Europe in an election that ravaged the
more established political parties and looked set to hand power
to maverick tycoon Andrej Babis.
The SPD was set up in 2015 by Tomio Okamura, a half-Japanese
entrepreneur who made his name by creating an off-beat travel
agency for cuddly toys before entering politics.
"We want to stop any Islamisation of the Czech Republic, we
push for zero tolerance of migration," Okamura told reporters
after his party won just under 10.7 percent of the vote, almost
neck-and-neck with two other parties who were runners-up to
Babis's ANO party.
Okamura was first elected to the lower house for the Dawn
party, which fought to install direct voting for most political
posts and won 6.9 percent in the 2013 election, He was later
ousted in a spat over irregularities in party finances.
This time around, Okamura pounced on anti-foreigner feeling
that has soared in the nation of 10.6 million, despite
record-low unemployment, growing wages and relatively little
"I voted for SPD because their opinions are close to mine, I
am also against migrants arriving here," said Pavel, an
unemployed worker, leaving a polling station in Prague.
Okamura has also played on euroscepticism among many voters
and attacked the Roma minority.
"The European Union can't be reformed. It only dictates to
us. We refuse the multicultural European superstate. Let's leave
the EU," Okamura said at a party leaders' debate just before
polls opened on Friday.
Born to a Czech mother and Japanese father, Okamura grew up
in both the Czech Republic and Japan. He later sold popcorn at
cinemas in Japan and ran a travel agency which took clients'
plush toys around the sights of the Czech Republic.
He was not always on the extreme right. Political analysts
say he began courting voters with more hardline views after
forming the SPD in 2015.
In 2011, Okamura was on a jury at the Miss Expat beauty
pageant, featuring immigrants to the country. Two years later he
posted a picture of his Czech girlfriend wearing Islamic dress
to enter a mosque in London as he praised the assistance she
received there, calling it a "fine experience".
"When he (Okamura) established his first party, he based it
on direct democracy and punishment for bad politicians. Only
after his ousting did he add the cheapest thing, the 'virtual
threat' of migration," said Pavel Saradin, political science
lecturer at the Palacky University in Olomouc.
Saradin called the threat "virtual" as the Czech Republic
was bypassed by the immigration wave seen elsewhere in Europe in
the last two years and has only a tiny Muslim minority.
But the anti-immigrant message Okamura seized on has had
wider backing in the Czech society, with all major political
parties rejecting a quota system for redistributing migrants
that have arrived in the European Union.
President Milos Zeman, formerly leader of the pro-European
centre-left Social Democrats, shared the podium with far-right
anti-immigration activists during the 2015 celebrations of the
country's democratic revolution.
This weekend's election winner Babis, himself a rich
businessman, will need partners to form a government.
Given that he faces fraud charges -- which he says are
trumped-up -- several mainstream parties have already rejected
being in government with him. This could potentially make an
opening for the SPD which could supply its votes to back Babis's
administration in return for policy concessions.
(Editing by Michael Kahn and Robin Pomeroy)
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