The manager of the Czech national soccer team, Pavel Vrba, has mainly selected players from the Czech league for a friendly game against Austria in Olomouc next Tuesday. Striker Matěj Vydra of England’s West Bromwich Albion is the only foreign-based call-up. Among the 18-man squad are three uncapped young players: Jiří Fleišman from Liberec, Lukáš Hejda of Plzeň and Jablonec’s Jan Kopic.
The Free Citizens’ Party – one of six Czech groupings that won seats in the European Parliament in elections last weekend – attracted votes from people who backed TOP 09 in October’s general elections, suggests a study of voting patterns released by the group KohoVolit.eu. The Pirate Party, who were less than one percentage point away from taking a seat, took votes from the Green Party, according to the study. The Communists and the Christian Democrats had the highest percentage of votes from people who also supported them in the general elections. By contrast, ANO, who came first in the Euro elections, lost many previous voters to smaller parties.
The popular Czech rock band Lucie have returned to the stage after a 10-year gap. The group played the first show of a reunion tour in front of 6,500 fans in the Slovak city of Košice on Monday night. Lucie – who were one of the country’s most popular bands in the 1990s – have sold over 100,000 tickets for the comeback tour. Two additional shows have been organised in Prague due to high demand.
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.
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