Michal Berg from the Czech Republic’s Green Party has become a member of
the European Green Party leadership. He was elected to the post at the
party ’s council meeting in Belgium’s Antwerp on Sunday.
The 37-year-old IT businessman has joined the Green Party in 2010 and later became its vice-chairman. After his election e said he wanted to promote green policies across Europe and help bring European Greens together.
Petr Štěpánek, biologist and mayor of Prague 4, was elected leader of
the Green Party on Saturday. He replaces Matěj Stropnický who resigned in
the wake of the party’s poor showing in October’s general elections.
Štěpánek said the Green Party is based on three pillars, environment, social issues and freedom and democracy.
The right-wing TOP 09 party will field representatives of the Liberal Ecological Party on its candidate lists in October’s general elections, representatives of both groupings said on Thursday. The latter’s Martin Bursík, a former minister of the environment, said TOP 09 shared his party’s outlook on the environment, foreign policy and human rights. Among the other Liberal Ecological Party members due to stand for TOP 09 are Džamila Stehlíková, a one-time human rights minister, and Olga Sommerová, a documentary maker.
President Miloš Zeman suggested in an interview for commercial broadcaster Frekvence 1 that he had never heard of well-known Czech lyricist and sometime TV personality Michal Horáček. Horáček, also a multimillionaire former co-owner of betting company Fortuna and onetime sports journalist, said in the media recently he was considering running in the next presidential election, although he had not taken a final decision yet. Horáček, while not a professional politician, was involved in Civic Forum during the Velvet Revolution and a few years ago co-founded an environmentalist party called LES with former environment minister Martin Bursík. It is not known whether President Zeman is intending to run for a second term: in his interview for Frekvence 1, he said that Horáček, like other potential rivals, “would have to wait until March 2017 to find out”.
President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Czech Republic continued on Tuesday with the signing of a new strategic partnership treaty and meetings with top officials. While the visit is being viewed as a success for Chinese-Czech relations, human rights activists have raised their voices in protest at the servility shown to the Chinese leader.
Prague deputy Matěj Stropnický was elected chairman of the Green Party for the next two years at the Party's election conference in Prague on Saturday. Mr Stropnický won with 117 votes against Prague 4 mayor Petr Štěpánek with 97 and Jan Šlechta with six votes. The 32-year-old Stropnický, former deputy mayor of Prague, replaces Jana Drápalova, who was not defending the post. In his candidate speech, Mr Stropnický said that the Greens were a consolidated party respecting mutual diversity. He also said they were ready to once again become a real parliamentary party. Irena Moudrá Wünschová, a doctor from Ústí nad Labem, was elected the first deputy chairperson.
Deputy Green Party leader and mayor of Prague 4 Petr Štepańek has confirmed he will run for the post of party leader at the Greens’ leadership congress to be held at the end of January. He said his main aim as potential chairman would be to lead to the Greens to a successful result in the communal elections next autumn and in the national election in 2017. The current chairwoman of the party, Jana Drápalová, has not made an announcement confirming whether she intends to run again.
The Green Party will push for legislative changes such as the legalisation of the growing of marijuana for both health and recreational use, as well as (with rising effectivity) a shorter work week, according to the party’s new policy programme agreed at the weekend. Party chairwoman Jana Drápalová made clear that Germany and Denmark were a source of inspiration for the party, which served in a centre-right government led by Mirek Topolánek in 2006. In elections in 2010 and 2013, however, the Greens did not get enough votes to make it into the Chamber of Deputies.
The parties of the coalition governing Prague have declared the will to preserve the alliance which is under severe strain following internal fighting and the dismissal of four councilors last month. The four were voted off the council in a stormy session which observers later described as a tit-for-tat war between the ANO party, the Social Democrats and the three-way coalition of Greens, Christian Democrats, and the STAN group of mayors and independents. Coalition representatives met on Tuesday to clarify their stands regarding the future of the alliance. A scheduled meeting of the Prague leadership will thus go ahead as planned on Thursday.
The Green Party have called on the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, to honour volunteers who help refugees at a ceremony on Wednesday celebrating the foundation of Czechoslovakia. In an open letter, the Greens’ leader Jana Drápalová and party senator Václav Láska said they were not requesting state honours for volunteers, merely that the head of state thank them for their work. The president’s spokesman rejected the call. Mr. Zeman has been criticised for his comments on migrants and Muslims, with the UN’s high commissioner for human rights last week saying his repeated Islamophobic comments had contributed to xenophobic public discourse.