Polling stations around the Czech Republic closed at 2 PM on Saturday,
ending municipal elections and the first round of voting for the Czech
Senate. Nearly 50 percent of eligible voters have cast their ballots in the
municipal elections, and a litle over forty percent showed up at the Senate
A record 165 parties and movements are taking part this year, fielding more than 230,000 candidates for 60,000 seats in local councils. A record number of candidates, a little over 30 percent, are women. For the first time, the municipal elections are open to all EU citizens residing in the country, be they permanent or temporary residents.
With 30 percent of districts counted in the first round of voting for the
Czech Senate, eight candidates of the ruling Social Democrats will advance
to the second round, along with four ANO candidates and seven candidates
for the Christian Democrats, two of them in coalition with the Green Party.
No senator is likely to be elected in the first round so far.
One third of the Czech Senates 81 seats are being contested with 244 candidates competing for 27 seats. A second round of voting in the Senate elections will take place next weekend.
The annual multi discipline contemporary art festival 4+4 Days in Motion got underway in Prague of Friday evening. Now in its nineteenth year, the festival offers dance and theatre performances, public lectures and discussions and an exhibition, taking place in various venues across the city. The event runs until October 18.
The Czech national football team defeated Turkey 2:1 in Istanbul on Friday night, securing their second win in the Euro 2016 qualification. Turkey grabbed the lead eight minutes after the start, but Czechs equalized a few minutes later with a shot by Václav Sivok. Václav Pilař scored in the second half, securing the win for the Czech national team. The Czechs will next face Kazakhstan on Monday.
Police are investigating alleged election fraud and vote buying in the north Bohemian municipalities of Lovosice, Litvínov, Chomutov and Bílina, and in te north Moravian towns of Ostrava and Český Těšín, a police spokeswoman said on Friday. The alleged fraudsters were reportedly targeting members of the local Roma community, offering them money to vote for a particular party. If the suspicion is confirmed, the election results in the towns in question will have to be cancelled.
Pavel Landovský, famous actor, playwright and Charter 77 signatory, has died at the age of 78. Mr Landovský was a prominent dissident under the communist regime and a close friend of the late Václav Havel. In the 1970s he was banned from film and television and after signing the charter, he was also prevented from working at the theatre. After being severely beaten by the Secret police in 1979, he left for Vienna, where he was offered a place in the famous Burgtheater. He returned to Prague in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime.
Czech President Miloš Zeman and members of the government including Education Minister Marcel Chládek applauded the news on Friday that Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai had been chosen as a joint-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi. The president, through his spokesman, said it was a message for young people to escape the shackles of intolerant organisations like the Taliban. The 17-year-old activist, the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban last year. The Czech NGO People in Need also applauded the decision by the Nobel Prize Committee, suggesting it was an excellent choice.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek welcomed his Polish counterpart Grzegorz Schetyna in Prague on Friday at Černín Palace to discuss Czech-Polish relations and key issues. The foreign trip is the Polish minister’s third since taking over from Radoslaw Sikorski last month. The ministers discussed the impact of EU sanctions against Russia for its role in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, calling them crucial; they suggested the sanctions had helped blunt steps by Russia and helped a ceasefire hold. A unified stance on Russia, they agreed, was necessary not only for the Czech Republic and Poland, but within the Visegrad Four, which also includes Slovakia and Hungary. Mr Schetyna said that a unified stance on Russia by the V4 would be “better heard” in Europe and Brussels.