Social Democrat losses in regional elections are not due to the performance of regional assemblies but rather to the party’s failings at central government level, president Miloš Zeman said Sunday in an interview with the tabloid Blesk. Most of the regional leadership should be congratulated for the work done, he said. Zeman added that the overall victory of the ANO party at the polls is likely a foretaste of what will happen at elections to the lower house of parliament due to happen at the latest by October 2017. The president added that the results should not have a decisive influence on the working of the current coalition government, whose two main parties are the Social Democrats of prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka and ANO party headed by finance minister Andrej Babiš. The Social Democrats came top in just two regions with ANO triumphant in nine of the 13 regions being contested. Zeman was a former leader of the Social Democrats but often has a critical stance towards its current leader.
Social democrat leader and prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said he had no fears his party will push for him to step down following disappointing results in regional and first round elections to the upper house, the Senate. Sobotka declared Sunday that personal disputes would only profit the ANO party, the winner of most votes and seats in the voting to fill 13 regional assemblies. Top Social Democrat party leaders are due to meet Sunday night to discuss the results. ANO came top in nine regions with the Social Democrats, formerly the dominant regional party, only winning in two. The party is also set to lose seats in the Senate when the second round of voting is held next Friday and Saturday. Sobotka said voters were looking for a change after Social Democrat dominance of the regions over the last eight years. The personal reputation of candidates was also a factor and the Social Democrats needed to select better qualified candidates for the elections to the lower house of parliament due in 12 months at the latest, Sobotka said.
Czech police have been asked by counterparts in Saxony, Germany, to help in the hunt for a 22-year-old Syrian suspected of being involved in a bomb plot. The request follows a police search of a flat in the city of Chemnitz in which materials for making a bomb were found. Chemnitz is around 50 kilometres from the Czech border. Czech police have said there are no indications that the man is hiding in the country. Some German media reports suggested the 22-year-old was linked to Islamic State.
Minister of Finance and ANO leader Andrej Babiš has been chosen the best finance minister in developing European markets in a survey conducted by the magazine Emerging Markets. The selection was announced on Saturday night in Washington in a ceremony coinciding with the meetings there of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Babiš’ selection was based on his responsible fiscal policy combined with policies aimed at boosting growth, the organisers said. The Czech minister joins former finance minister and rival Miroslav Kalousek who was the winner of the same award in both 2008 and 2011.
In tennis, the Czech-US pairing of Lucie Šafářová and Bethanie Mattek-Sands won the WTA doubles final in Beijing 6:4, 6:4 against French opponents Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. It is the eighth doubles title for Šafářová and Mattek-Sands and their third finals win in a row. They also beat the French pairing to take the US Open title this year.
The ANO party, triumphant in regional elections across the country on Saturday, says all the other parties in the Hradec Králové region, where it won the most seats, have teamed up to exclude it from power. In a statement, ANO described the still informal deal between the five parties as the fraud of the century and has demanded that talks reopen. Some members of the other parties have denied a deal had been done aimed at excluding ANO from power. The region was previously ruled by a coalition of the Social Democrats and Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. ANO won most seats and votes in nine of the 13 regional assemblies for which polling took place on Friday and Saturday.
In football, the Czech Republic was brushed aside 0:3 in a confident performance by Germany in their World Cup group qualification match in Hamburg on Saturday night. There were a brace of goals from Thomas Muller and one from Toni Kroos. The German team outclassed the Czechs, who lacked possession for large parts of the match, and often looked as though they could easily increase the margin. Czech manager Karel Jarolím’s squad, still to find the net in the campaign so far, face Azerbaijan at home on Tuesday.
In the first round of Senate voting, the Social Democrats, who were defending 10 seats, are certain to be a shrunken force in a new look Senate where they have previously been the dominant party. They are likely to have candidates in the run off second round of Senate voting,pitting the two top scoring candidates from the first round, in just eight seats. That was the state of play with 99.9 percent of the count being completed at 7.50 PM. ANO was set to have candidates in 14 contests for Senate seats and the Christian Democrats in eight. Renewed voting takes place on Friday and Saturday. Given the shape of the run-off contests, it is already clear that the current government coalition will, however, still retain its majority in the upper house of parliament, the Senate. The Senate has the power to block and amend government legislation although the lower house can re-asset its position in a fresh vote.
The ANO party of millionaire businessman Andrej Babiš triumphed in regional elections, winning most votes and seats in nine of the 13 areas being contested. The Social Democrats scored highest in the Vysočina and South Bohemia regions with the Christian Democrats on top in the Zlin region and the movement Mayors for the Liberec Region polling best in that part of north Bohemia. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia was beaten by ANO into second place in the Ustí region. The outcome of voting which took place on Friday and Saturday will be a blow for the biggest government party, the Social Democrats, headed by prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka. They had previously dominated nearly all regional assemblies across the country with leading roles in 12 out of 13 regions and regional governors, or hejtmen, in 11 of them. Sobotka said as the results came in that it was clear that after eight years of Social Democratic dominance at regional level people were looking for a change and his party had to find new policies to win broader support in the future. Overall, ANO landed around 21 percent of all the votes nationwide in the regional contests pushing the Social Democrats, with just over 15 percent, into second place. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia gained around 11 percent support, the Civic Democrats just short of 10 percent, and Christian Democrats around 6.5 percent. In spite of turning out the winner, ANO is not guaranteed to dominate the regional assemblies with that to be decided by coalition negotiations.
The Czech Under-21 football team has booked its place for the European Championships being hosted by Poland next year. The Czechs beat Moldova 4:1 at home on Friday night. Their place in the finals was secured after Belgium lost 3:0 against Montenegro. That means that while other teams have games in hand the Czechs cannot be overtaken. Czech prospects had been dented after a defeat last month against Belgium.
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