The Ano party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has won the municipal elections in all regional capitals except Prague – where the opposition Civic Democrats and Pirates took first and second, respectively – and Liberec. The big losers of the day, in both the municipal and Senate races, were the Social Democrats and Communists.
Only two candidates for the upper house of Parliament will will not face an
opponent in a run-off vote on October 12-13, former presidential candidate
Jiří Drahoš and current senator and regional governor Jiří Čunek.
Drahoš (independent, running on the ticket of the Party of Mayors and Independents) lost to Miloš Zeman in the second round of the presidential race last year, will represent the Prague 4 district in the Senate. A chemist by profession, he served as President of the Czech Academy of Sciences from 2009 to 2017.
Čunek (Christian Democrats), current governor of the Zlín region, was reelected to the Senate representing Vsetín. A former long-time mayor of Vsetín, he successfully defended his senatorial mandate for a second time. He has been a Senator since 2006 and a regional governor since 2016.
The police have begun investigating claims by the ex-wife of former prime
minister Jiří Paroubek that he illegally acquired millions of crowns
while he was the leader of the Social Democrats, iRozhlas.cz reported,
citing a state attorney.
Petra Paroubková made the allegations in an interview last week. The pair are currently divorcing.
Mr. Paroubek says his ex-partner is attempting to scupper his chances in Senate elections in October, when he will be standing as an independent.
The ex-wife of former Czech prime minister, Jiří Paroubek, has accused
him of illegally acquiring millions of crowns when he was head of the
Social Democrats. Petra Paroubková made the allegations in an interview
for Televize Seznam.
For his part, Mr. Paroubek says his former partner is attempting to undermine his chances in Senate elections in October, when he will be standing in the Ostrava constituency as an independent.
Petra Paroubková also said she knew other politicians who had made far higher illegal earnings than her ex-husband.
The Social Democratic Party will not support its former chairman, Jiří
Paroubek, in the Senate elections due to take place in the autumn, the
party decided on Friday. Mr. Paroubek wanted to run as an independent
candidate with the support of the Social Democrats for the Senate seat in
the region of the Ostrava region.
Jiří Paroubek, who is now 66, headed the Social Democratic Party from 2006 to 2010 and served as Prime Minister between 2005 and 2006. After leaving the Social Democrats in 2011, he established his own left-oriented party LEV 21, which failed to win seats in the lower house in the past general election.
Most of the defeated candidates, including Pavel Fischer, Marek Hilšer and
Mirek Topolánek, have given their endorsement to Jiří Drahoš in the
second round of the presidential election.
Michal Horáček said he would support any candidate running against Miloš Zeman in the second round, while former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek called on his voters not to stay at home in the second round and vote for Jiří Drahoš.
Vratislav Kulhánek, who finished last in the first round of the presidential elections, has also given his backing to Mr Drahoš, arguing that era of Miloš Zeman was over.
The first stage of the Czech presidential elections is reaching its climax with voting taking place this Friday and Saturday. The nine candidates seeking to become head of state will be trying to get their final messages through in the next days and that’s likely to mean a rush to the campaign coffers where some are, apparently, more equal and open to scrutiny than others.
Former prime minister Mirek Topolánek failed to register a campaign
account by Tuesday in line with filing his bid to run in the upcoming
presidential election, Czech Radio reported Friday, adding the account
created later was non-transparent.
Mr Topolánek unexpectedly announced his decision to run for president last Sunday and secured signatures from 10 senators on the eve of the deadline.
His team countered that the law did not properly account for last-minute candidacies. The Interior Ministry is looking into the matter; there are several possibilities, from symbolic sanctions to a fine of up to half a million crowns.
Former Social Democrat prime minister and party chairman Jiří Paroubek
has suffered another setback in his bid to rejoin the party.
Paroubek’s hopes of rejoining the party were raised last week after Prague leaders recommended he be allowed to do so. But on Wednesday night a meeting of the local party in the Prague 5 region, where he used to be a member, rejected his readmission. The local party’s agreement is a must for his return.
Paroubek left the party in 2011 to found his own party, which failed to make any impact. The party leadership rejected a comeback in June but changed it’s mind after the electoral disaster in recent lower house elections where it lost around two thirds of its support.