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.
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.
Tenth seed Gonzalez reached his first Masters Series final when he defeated the Czech numer one Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-1. Berdych folded under the pressure of a hostile home crowd, while Gonzalez gave him no respite as he pounded him with his pin-point serve and wrapped up victory in 52 minutes. "I've never seen anything like it, it's like a bad dream. It's not a tennis crowd," Berdych said later. Berdych beat defending champion and local hero Rafael Nadal in the quarters, provoking the anger of the world number two and local fans.
The centre-right Civic Democratic Party has scored a resounding victory in both the local and Senate elections held over the weekend in the Czech Republic. In local elections the centre-right Civic Democrats led by Mirek Topolanek won the highest number of votes - 30, 5 percent - and the highest number of municipalities. In Prague the Civic Democrats can rule alone having gained over 53 percent of votes. Overall in the local elections, the Social Democrats came second with 17 percent of votes, the Communists third with 12 percent, followed by the Christian Democrats with 8 percent and the Greens who got 4,5 percent. The independents did exceptionally well gaining a record number of seats in local government. Voter turnout was 46 percent, which is much higher than expected.
Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil is considering pressing charges against Jana Hybaskova, head of the European Democrats, who recently accused him and two other Civic Democrat officials of corruption. Mrs. Hybaskova said last Tuesday that a representative of the governing party had asked her for a three million crown bribe in a certain financial transaction which was to be paid to Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil, Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty and another unnamed party deputy. Mr. Pospisil said the accusations were outrageous and unless Mrs. Hybaskova publicly apologized he would take her to court.
Meanwhile, the possibility of the Civic Democrats gaining a constitutional majority in the Senate has shocked the centre-left Social Democrats. Party leader Jiri Paroubek has called for a coalition of all parties against the Civic Democrats in the second round of Senate elections in order to prevent what he termed "the onset of blue totalitarianism in the Czech Republic." The Christian Democrats and the Green Party have rejected the idea.
The former president Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar will be spending the next four months in the United States where Mr. Havel is expected to give several lectures. The Havels will attend a theatre festival of Mr. Havel's work and divide their time between New York and Washington. Vaclav Havel recently turned seventy.
The Speaker of the lower house Miloslav Vlcek said on Saturday the Social Democrats may file a complaint challenging the regularity of the elections because of the way the media reported on a corruption scandal surrounding people close to the Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek. Less than 48 hours before polling stations opened a former deputy minister for regional development who is charged with abusing EU structural funds told police investigators that the former Social Democrat prime minister Jiri Paroubek was involved in the fraudulent practices she was accused of. Mr. Vlcek said some journalists had reported on the case as if the Social Democrat leader were guilty. The Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has said he is not in favor of filing a complaint.