Prague gets its first female mayor

The city of Prague has a new leadership and, for the first time ever, a female mayor. Adriana Krnáčová from the ANO party chaired her first session of the Prague Assembly on Wednesday promising to clean up corruption and give Prague citizens a modern and transparent administration.

Adriana Krnáčová, photo: CTKAdriana Krnáčová, photo: CTK Fifty-four year old Adriana Krnáčová radiated confidence as she awaited the results of Wednesday’s vote. Certain of support from ANOs coalition partners in Prague –the Social Democrats and a three-way grouping ,made up of the Greens, the Christian Democrats and independents, Krnáčová broke with tradition, refusing to make a short address introducing her policy programme ahead of the vote. This elicited a volley of criticism from the assembly, but minutes later the votes of the new Prague coalition secured her election. In a brief thank-you speech the new mayor said she wanted to make a clean break from the past.

“It is my wish that in four years time’ the city of Prague will have a modern, transparent and people-friendly city council, with no more links to the dark past.“

The ANO party which won the elections in Prague built its election campaign around the need to fight corruption, promising to look into all dubious contracts from the past and break with the murky environment of lobbyists and godfathers. Adriana Krnáčová, a former head of the Czech branch of Transparency International, was selected by her party as the ideal candidate for the city’s top post. Prague’s first female mayor said shortly after her election that she was going to effect a major overhaul in the way city hall operates and was not afraid of stepping on anyone’s toes.

The right-wing parties, who had governed Prague for over two decades and against whom Krnáčová’s criticism is largely directed, will not make her life easy. Prague’s new mayor was elected by a razor-sharp majority of 33 votes out of 65. Her predecessor in office Tomáš Hudeček of TOP 09 pointed out that the new Prague coalition is already divided on many issues and former Civic Democrat mayor Bohuslav Svoboda indicated that winning support from the opposition benches for her plans could be an uphill struggle.

Bohuslav Svoboda, photo: CTKBohuslav Svoboda, photo: CTK “It is very hard to administrate anything with just one extra vote to fall back on. That is always a big problem and inevitably the problems are going to mount.”

Adriana Krnáčová knows that her four years in office will not be plain sailing, but says she’s not going to back down. Prepared for trouble, she has already asked the interior minister for special protection.