Polls have closed on the second and final day of elections to the European Parliament in the Czech Republic. On the two previous occasions that Czechs could vote in European Parliament elections fewer than 30 percent of voters took part; this time it could be less than one fifth, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting election officials. Almost 850 candidates are in the running for 21 seats with results set to be announced late on Sunday.
The European elections are seen as second ranking by Czech voters, political scientist Tomáš Lebeda said in response to the apparent record low turnout. Speaking to the Czech News Agency, he said another factor was that part of the country's political elite were opposed to the European Parliament, which resonated with part of the electorate. Pundit Bohumil Doležal said the low turnout reflected the fact the elections had little impact on events in the Czech Republic. He added that they could however provide an indication of how local elections later in the year will go.
The Ministry of the Interior said that the law on elections was broken when Monika Babišová, the partner of Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, was allowed to cast her ballot twice in the European Parliament elections on Friday. When she placed a ballot paper in a box without an envelope, making it invalid, the chairman of the relevant electoral commission allowed her to cast a second ballot. In addition, Mr. Babiš helped his partner the second time, which is also illegal.
Speaking after voting in the European Parliament elections on Saturday morning, former Czech president Václav Klaus described the ballot as inauthentic and redundant. Mr. Klaus, a noted Eurosceptic, said he had voted with “great unease” and hesitated about going to the polls for the first time since the fall of communism. He said the low turnout was proof that more and more people were aware that attempts to centralise Europe were a mistake.
The West Bohemian city of Plzeň is preparing a tour of buildings designed by the world renowned architect Adolf Loos. The tour, which also takes in interiors, will be available to visitors from the start of next year, a spokesperson said. Loos, who was born in Brno, received his first commission in Plzeň in 1907 and carried out other projects in the city until his death in 1933. Plzeň will be European City of Culture in 2015.
The Czech Republic were beaten 3:0 by Finland in the semi-finals of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Belarus on Saturday evening. The Czechs conceded a single goal in the first and second periods before a strike from the Finns late in the game ended all hope of a Czech comeback. Vladimír Ružička's team will now face Sweden in a game to decide third place.
Eva Samková has become the first snowboarder to win the King of the White Piste, an award voted on by members of the Czech Ski Association. Samková took gold in boardercross at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. Speaking at the awards ceremony at Prague’s Žofín on Friday, Samková, who is 21, said she was glad to see that snowboarding was developing in the Czech Republic.