Prague's Lord Mayor Pavel Bem is likely to retain his post for a full term, that is, the next four years, after his party, the Civic Democrats (of which is also a deputy chairman) won a resounding victory in Prague in municipal elections at the weekend. In Prague, the Civic Democrats clinched more than 54 percent of the vote, and will hold 42 of 70 seats at city hall. The result means that the Civic Democrats could govern alone as a majority; nevertheless Mr Bem has not ruled out a broader coalition.
The Office for the Protection of Competition has approved state subsidies for Hyundai's planned car plant in northern Moravia. The information was released by a representative on Monday. According to Hyundai's contract with the Czech Republic, the company will be eligible to receive subsidies of up to 2.4 billion crowns - the equivalent of around 106 million US dollars. The plant - as well as up to fifteen suppliers - could then receive an additional 2.5 billion crowns towards creating new jobs and introducing re-qualification programmes for employees. According to the office the state subsidies are fully in-line with EU norms, but the subsidies will still need to be approved by the European Commission.
The winner of Radio Prague's annual radio competition, Dimitrij Balykin of Russia, has arrived for a week's stay in the Czech capital. Mr Balykin, along with several hundred others took part in the competition, but his entry on the topic of "Czech sounds" was judged the best by the jury. Mr Balykin wrote about the usefulness of audio in Prague's metro especially for the blind and poor-sighted. Mr Balykin himself is blind. His week in the capital will include visiting a number of key tourist sites, as well as sitting down for an interview with Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio.
To an extent, the local and Senate elections have been viewed as a
referendum on the inconclusive parliamentary elections in June which
prevented politicians from forming a stable government: Mirek
Topolanek's cabinet failed in a vote of confidence after just 30 days.
President Vaclav Klaus commented the results by saying they were an
indication of the mood in Czech society and that they signalled a
political solution to the country's drawn out crisis. He is expected to
name a new prime minister designate after the Senate elections
Meanwhile, acting Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told journalists on Monday that his party's success in the municipal and Senate elections is not likely to make negotiations on a new government any easier. But, he did suggest they could be a signal for political rivals, the Social Democrats. Mr Topolanek's Civic Democrats are pushing for early parliamentary elections as the only solution to the continuing political deadlock. The Social Democrats led by Jiri Paroubek have favoured forming a grand coalition. Negotiations on a new government are expected to resume soon.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus - attending ceremonies in Hungary commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hungarian uprising against Soviet rule - has said that he would be glad if the young generation never forgot what occurred in Hungary 50 years ago. "Forgetting", the president said, meant facing "formidable consequences". The president stressed that there was no danger today of the emergence of a communist regime similar to the one that brutally suppressed the Hungarian Uprising in 1956. The ceremonies to mark the anniversary are being attended in Budapest by dozens of foreign delegations. Fighting that occurred during the uprising in 1956, mostly in Budapest, cost 2,600 Hungarians their lives. More than 200 people were executed for their roles in the uprising and 200,000 people fled the country.
Frantisek Frolich and Vladimir Korner have been awarded the annual state prize for translation, and literature, respectively. 62-year-old Frolich, a specialist in English and Scandinavian languages, has translated drama and prose into Czech, including works by Karen Blixen, Hans Christian Andersen, August Strindberg and Harold Pinter. 70-year-old Vladimir Korner, who received the prize for literature, is the author of numerous well-known Czech novels as well as screenplays. He is perhaps most highly regarded for Valley of the Bees, made into a film by the late Czech filmmaker Frantisek Vlacil. The state prizes for literature and translation are worth 250,000 and 125,000 crowns and are presented by the Culture Ministry.
The right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party led by Mirek Topolanek has
dominated in both municipal and Senate elections held throughout the Czech
Republic at the weekend, elections largely seen as the first important
for the right-of-centre party and others - predominantly the Social
Democrats, the Christian Democrats, the Communists, and the Greens - after
parliamentary elections proved inconclusive in June.
Among the large parties in the municipal elections the Civic Democrats won 30 percent of the overall vote - dominating in larger towns - especially the Czech capital where they won an outright majority. Second in the overall number of votes were the Social Democrats with 17 percent, the Communists with 12, the Christian Democrats with 8, and the Greens with 4.5.
The right-of-centre Civic Democrats also dominated in the first weekend of Senate races, with 26 out of a possible 27 candidates making it through to the second round. If 14 of their candidates succeed next Friday and Saturday, or as many as 22, the party could win a senate or even a constitutional majority.
President Klaus told journalists that he had done his utmost to promote Prague as the seat of the Galileo European Navigation system at Friday's informal EU summit in Finland. I do not like lobbying but I feel I may have scored a point, Mr. Klaus told reporters on his return. The Galileo European Navigation System is a joint initiative of the European Commission and European Space Agency. It should be launched sometime in 2008 and eleven states have made a bid to host it.
The local and Senate elections are widely seen as a referendum on the inconclusive June general elections which have prevented politicians from forming a stable government. President Klaus said the election results were an indication of the mood in Czech society and signaled a political solution to the country's drawn out crisis. Mr. Klaus, who has been holding talks with party leaders in order to ascertain their position on a future government set up, has made it clear that he would not name a new prime minister designate until after the second round of Senate elections next week.