The Civic Democrats and the Mayors and Independents gained 10 and seven seats, respectively, in elections to one-third of seats in the Senate that concluded at the weekend. In stark contrast, governing parties ANO and the Social Democrats won only one mandate apiece. Though ANO’s poor showing has vexed leader Andrej Babiš, the outcome was not unexpected, says political scientist Petr Just.
Whereas in 1990 there were eight Roma MPs in the Czechoslovak Parliment, today there are none and candidates who belong to the minority have not had much success in the recent communal elections either. Although individual cases of success exist, they are extremely rare. Reasons behind the lack of Roma representation in politics include negative cononations with the minority among majority voters, a lack of popular candidates and low election participation among members of the Roma minority themselves.
The communal and senatorial elections were seen as a test of strength of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ ANO party, which has dominated Czech national politics since winning last year’s parliamentary elections by a large margin. Although ANO scored in 11 big cities, its loss in the Czech capital, which Babiš considered all-important, has soured the party’s victory.
The Ano party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has won the municipal elections in all regional capitals except Prague – where the opposition Civic Democrats and Pirates took first and second, respectively – and Liberec. The big losers of the day, in both the municipal and Senate races, were the Social Democrats and Communists.
The Czech Republic’s communal elections, which will take place this Friday and Saturday, differ from their presidential and parliamentary equivalents in that citizens of other EU member states are also allowed to vote. This includes those living in the country on a temporary basis. However, interest in political engagement seems low among foreigners living in the country, with only a few thousand deciding to register.
Statistics show that close to one in ten adults face financial execution. Against this backdrop, MPs are set to debate amendments to the Insolvency Act which aim to make it easier for people to qualify for debt relief – and thus avoid declaring personal bankruptcy. But are so many Czechs really in debt up to their ears?
Less than a fortnight before Czechs go to the polls to vote in local and Senate elections, the country’s teenagers had a chance to cast their ballot in mock local elections. The undertaking aims to interest teenagers in politics, active citizenship and let them experience what voting in elections involves.
The Supreme Court has ruled that a regional court acted illegally six years ago in authorising the wiretapping of investigative journalist Janek Kroupa, who was digging into alleged corruption in a multi-billion crown military tender. The ruling further sets important precedents in requiring judges to explicitly justify any police surveillance of journalists, which infringes upon their right to protect their sources and the Constitutional right to freedom of expression.
As Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš defended his government’s decision not to accept even a single migrant at the EU summit in Salzburg, trouble was brewing for him at home. A proposal for the Czech Republic to take in 50 Syrian orphans, has gained increasing support, and the prime minister is being showered with requests to break from his policy and make a humanitarian gesture.