The Social Democrats maintain a large margin over their competitors, according to a poll by the TNS Aisa for Czech TV released on Sunday. The survey suggests that the party would receive 28 percent of the vote, followed by the Communists and the Ano group, each with 12.5 percent. The conservative TOP 09 party would win some 11 percent of the vote, the Civic Democrats 6.5 percent and the Christian Democrats 6 percent. The poll suggests that the populist Dawn of Direct Democracy would receive 5 percent of the vote, just enough to enter the lower house.
In related news, the Communist party has made the most expensive election promises, according to a study by the IDEA institute and the daily Lidové noviny. Two weeks ahead of an early general election, the Communists promise, among other things, to lower VAT rates, to introduce minimum pensions, and excluded medicines from VAT, which would costs at least 91.5 billion crowns. The Christian Democrats, meanwhile, promise to take steps that would cost 48 billion while the pledges of the Social Democrats to voters would cost the state budget 43.5 billion, the study says. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats would need less than 7.2 billion to fulfill their campaign promises.
Cameron Kerry, the younger brother of the US Secretary of State John Kerry, is in the Czech Republic searching for his family’s ancestors. Mr Kerry, who arrived with his wife on Friday, is set to visit the town of Horní Benešov, in the northeast of the country where his grandfather was born. Cameron Kerry told the news website novinky.cz it was ironic that while he himself converted to Judaism, his grandfather, Fritz Kohn became a Catholic before moving to the United States in the early 20th century.
Students of Prague’s Czech Technical University have finished third in Solar Decathlon, an international architectural competition organized by the US Department of Energy. The jury appreciated the Czech team’s design of an energy-efficient building, entitled AIR House, for its simplicity. The Czech project won the architecture category of the competition, one of ten aspects included in the overall classification.
Police have arrested a man who they suspect killed two pedestrians in a hit-and-run incident near Vodňany in south Bohemia in the early hours of Sunday, a police spokesman said. Among the victims is a 26-year-old woman and a man whose identity remains unknown. The police have asked members of the public for information on any missing persons who might have been in the area at the time of the accident.
Czech hurdler Zuzana Hejnová has been European Athlete of the Year. The 26-year-old Czech runner who specializes in 400 metres hurdles, has won all her races this year including the World Championships and all seven Diamond League events. Hejnová was crowned along with Ukraine’s high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko who won the title in men’s category, at the European Athletic Awards ceremony in Tallinn on Saturday night.
Czech jockey Josef Váňa announced retirement after a fall in Sunday’s Velká pardubická steeplechase. The 60-year-old legend, who has achieved eight victories at the Velká pardubická race in his career, said he had been planning to retire next year but the fall at the race’s penultimate obstacle made him change his mind. He last won the Czech Republic’s best-known horse race in Pardubice in 2011.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has reopened the case of a former communist prosecutor who faces charges of abuse of power. Mr Zeman canceled a decision by prosecutors in Mělník who stopped the prosecution of the 85-year-old man over his involvement in a 1950s campaign against independent farmers, a spokeswoman for the supreme state attorney said. The man allegedly ordered the forcible removal of several farmers’ families from their communities. In total, the communist authorities relocated between 3,000 and 4,000 families in the campaign
Police on Saturday continued to search banks of the Vltava in Prague for missing body parts. Earlier this week, police found a human foot, part of a leg a torso while on Friday, another torso was discovered on the river bank in Smíchov. Some 40 officers on Saturday searched more stretches of the river from city centre downstream till the Vltava’s confluence with the Berounka in Prague’s southern suburbs. A police spokeswoman said the search would continue on Sunday.
Czech investigators fail in uncovering serious economic crime due to insufficient expertise, Prague Supreme State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová told the daily Lidové noviny on Saturday. The case of former managers of the Mostecká uhelná firm, sentenced earlier this week by a Swiss court to jail for fraud, showed that Czech investigators and prosecutors are no match for their Swiss colleagues, according to Ms Bradáčová. The attorney told the paper that a special analytical centre should be established whose experts would analyze money transfers, the activities of offshore companies, and suspicious book-keeping.
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