Some Czechs abroad have already been voting in the presidential polls.
In the United States, Czechs could vote from Thursday 8 pm Central European time. Voting is possible in person in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Los Angeles. Interest in the vote is said to be higher than in October’s elections to the lower house of parliament.
The Czech consul in Washington said around 1,000 Czechs were registered to vote with participation at around 70 percent. Many can also cast correspondence votes.
From Praha to Prague – Czechs in an Oklahoma Farm Town is an ethnic history by historian Philip D. Smith published this year by the University of Oklahoma Press. As a history, it provides fascinating insight into the life of Czech settlers in the US state of Oklahoma in the late 19th century. During a land run in 1891, they settled in an area they named after the Czech capital and began new lives, assimilating into the dominant culture but never losing their pride in their own cultural identity. The historian told me much more about emigration to
Martina Formanová, the wife of the famous Czech director Miloš Forman, was recently in Prague to launch an audio version of her novel, called Případ Pavlína, or Case Pavlína. The book, which was released a few years ago, tells the story of the Czech-born 1980’s super model Pavlína Pořízková and her family’s dramatic escape from Communist Czechoslovakia.
Elections to the lower house of Parliament will start a day early in some
polling stations abroad in order to make up for the time difference, the
ctk news agency reported.
The first voters will be able to cast their ballot on Thursday, October 19, in Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, the US and Canada. People will be able to vote at 108 polling stations abroad, mostly at embassies, cultural institutions or military army bases where Czech soldiers are serving in foreign missions.
Polling stations around the Czech Republic will close at 2pm on Saturday and the preliminary results should be announced a few hours later.
Czechs abroad have always been an integral part of the nation’s identity, but in the years of communism this bond was broken. The cultural and political life of Czech emigrés and exiles, especially in the West, came to be seen as a threat. Nearly three decades after the fall of communism, something of this suspicion still remains, and in the Czech Republic it is surprising how little we know about the Czech diaspora and their contribution both to their host countries and to the idea of what it means to be Czech. The historian and political scientist
United Moravian Societies, a non-profit organization established in 1939, helps expats in the United States connect with their roots and stay in touch with their culture. The annual Moravian Day Festival in Lemont is a highly anticipated annual event that brings together expats from Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia for two days of singing, dancing, good food and merrymaking. I spoke to Roman Bobčík, president of United Moravian Societies, about what is in store for visitors this year and began by asking when the festival was first held.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has said that no Czechs are among victims of
Hurricane Irma which hit Florida and the Caribbean. The ministry was
responding to a query by the Czech News Agency; spokeswoman Irena
Valentová said neither the embassy nor any consulates in the US or Cuba
had registered any Czech nationals being in danger.
The Foreign Ministry has strongly recommended that Czechs not travel to stricken areas. According to the ministry, there are around 1,000 Czech nationals in the state of Florida – members of the expat community as well as tourists.
US President Donald J. Trump has declared a state of emergency in the state. Following landfall by the hurricane, millions of people were evacuated from their homes to safer areas; three people were reported killed in the hurricane.
The young Prague-born writer Jaroslav Kalfař has received a great deal of attention in the international media for his debut novel Spaceman of Bohemia, which combines elements of science fiction with references to Czech history and mixes absurd humour and moral questions. Kalfař lives in New York and wrote the book in English. When we spoke recently, the author – who has drawn comparisons with several of the greatest modern Czech novelists – was on one of his first visits back to his native city since moving to the US.
The renowned Czech-born US film director Miloš Forman will be awarded the title of honorary citizen of Prague, the city council decided on Thursday. Forman, who was a leading personality of the Czech New Film Wave of the 1960s, has won two Oscars and three Golden Globe awards. Among his best known US films are One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, Hair and Valmont. The City of Prague Silver Medal will be awarded to conductor and choir master Jiří Chvála, who is heading the Kuhn children’s choir. Honorary citizenships of Prague have been awarded since 1920.