The Czech Republic has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine consumption in Europe, according to a study carried out for the journal Addiction and published on Tuesday. Prague’s waste water showed the strongest traces of methamphetamine in a comparison involving 42 European cities. Another Czech city, České Budějovice, placed second in the study. Prague was ranked 14th in terms of the amount of THC, which is found in cannabis, in its waste water, and 15th with regard to traces of ecstasy. Methamphetamine is known locally in the Czech Republic as pervitin.
The country’s leading Eurosceptic, former president Václav Klaus expressed satisfaction over the low voter turnout in elections to the European Parliament in the Czech Republic late Monday. Mr. Klaus told Czech Television that the 18.2 percent turnout was a clear indication that Czechs were not interested in the European Union and were aware that the EU was not run according to democratic principles. Mr. Klaus said the real winners of the European elections were the 82 percent of people who ignored them. In response to the outcome of the vote across Europe, the former Czech head of state noted that the success of Eurosceptic parties would mean only a marginal change.
Political parties will soon start negotiating on a joint Czech candidate for the post of EU commissioner. The ANO party of the ruling coalition is hoping that its election victory will give it an advantage in pushing through its candidate for the post, the country’s first EU commissioner Pavel Telička. However Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Monday that no single party had won an emphatic victory which would give it special privileges in this respect and that the matter would be debated not only among the ruling parties but consulted with the opposition in order to achieve as broad a consensus as possible.
Meteorologists have issued a storm warning for the upcoming 48 hours. A cold front moving from the west is expected to bring heavy storms with hailstones in places, high wind and heavy rain which may swell smaller rivers. The belt of rain should hit Bohemia on Tuesday afternoon and move eastwards to Moravia and Silesia on Wednesday.
The head of the Green Party Ondřej Liška has resigned as party leader in the wake of the party’s poor showing in the European elections. The party received 3.7 percent of the vote, failing to cross the five percent margin needed to win seats. Mr. Liška said he was deeply disappointed by the low voter turnout, saying it was a reflection of the state of Czech and European politics. In over a decade Czech politicians have not been able to explain to voters what EU integration is good for, the Green Party leader noted.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has congratulated business tycoon Petro Poroshenko on his emphatic victory in Sunday’s presidential elections in Ukraine. In a letter to Mr. Poroshenko, President Zeman stressed the need for a peaceful solution to the drawn-out Ukrainian crisis and wished Ukraine’s newly elected head of state success in bringing such a solution about.
Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said the low turnout had reflected on the party’s performance in the elections. The Social Democrats defended 7 seats in the elections but only won four. Mr. Sobotka said his party has had a long term problem in convincing its supporters to vote in European elections and it was clear that the party’s sympathises had seen no reason to go to the polls. At the same time, the prime minister said he was pleased that all three ruling parties had won seats in the European Parliament and that according to his calculations 15 of the country’s 21 MEPs would be pro-European.
The leader of the ANO party which came first in elections to the European Parliament says the election result confirms that his party is a politically stable force on the domestic scene. Psychologically, this is an important indicator and driving force for us, Mr. Babiš said, adding that he attributed his party’s victory to the fact that ANO had put experts on its election ticket while others had sought to find plum jobs for side-lined politicians. Mr. Babiš said the country’s 21 MEPs should cooperate closely to further Czech interests.
The state will pay out an overall 42.5 million crowns to parties who won at least one percent of the vote in elections to the European Parliament. The amount of public finances distributed will be much lower than expected due to the low voter turnout. ANO which got over over 244,000 votes will get 7.3 million crowns from state coffers, and TOP 09 which came second will also get over 7 million crowns. The Social Democrats who finished third will get 6.4 million. The state contribution amounts to 30 crowns per vote.
The Czech media are blaming the country’s politicians for the low voter turnout –a mere 18.2 percent of Czech voters cast their ballot in the European elections. The daily Mladá fronta Dnes notes Czech politicians have failed to explain to voters the workings of the EU and the impact that decisions made in the European Parliament have on everyday life in the Czech Republic. Consequently, Czechs are identifying themselves less than ever before with the EU and scepticism regarding the alliance is on the rise, the paper says. Lidové Noviny points to the paradox that the new European Parliament will have greater powers than ever before, while having a lower legitimacy because of widespread voter disinterest.
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