Do the Roma have their political leaders?

The Czech and Slovak documentary film Tvoj čas (Your Time) portrays the way how Roma political leaders have changed in 25 years and why in Slovakia, they have a higher chance to succeed in regional politics, whereas in the Czech Republic, they do better in national elections.

Do the Roma even have political leaders and are Roma politicians successful? The civic associations eduRoma and attempted to answer these two question in a documentary film Tvoj čas (Your Time). After 1989, a new generation of Roma leaders has been brought up in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, reaching for the highest positions of the political sphere.


After a series of five short documentaries called The Roma 25 Years after the Revolution, the non-profit organization involved in education introduces a new format with the aim to explain the difference between Roma political elites in both countries.

“I have been writing about these topics for more than ten years. Film is just a different means of expression, a way to come closer to the public and open a discussion, ” says Vlado Rafael from eduRoma when asked about his directing debut.

He is trying to answer the question why in Slovakia there is a better chance for the Roma to succeed in regional politics, whereas in the Czech Republic, they have more achievements in national elections.

Several respondents shared their experience in front of the camera – the mayor of Lunik IX in Košice Marcel Šaňa, an activist from Moldava nad Bodvou Rudolf Rusňák and an activist and former Open Society Foundation employee, Stano Daniel, who was also a candidate in the last year’s European Parliament elections.


Czech politicians appear in the film as well – former president of the Roma Civic Initiative and one of the main Roma community leaders in the Czech Republic in the post-revolution era, Emil Ščuka. Apart from him, Monika Mihaličková, former MEP and Lucie Horváthová, MEP, share their success, disappointment and their views on the atmosphere in society.

“Politicians are perceived even more negatively than the Roma. The worst combination is to be a Roma politician, ” said Lucie Horváthová during the shooting.

The documentary was introduced by its author at this week’s pre-premiere in Goethe Institute in Bratislava. On Monday, the Czech premiere will be held in Prague.

The film will be screened at One World Film Festival and it is accessible also on the web sites of Denník N, V/4 Revue and TV SME.

Photo: Jana Killigerová, eduRoma

Author: Rudolf Sivý 2.10.2015