Daily news summary
News site: Pithart considering running for presidency
Petr Pithart, a leading figure in Czech politics in the post-1989 period, says he may run for president. In an interview for iDnes.cz, Mr. Pithart said he was “considering whether to consider” standing for the post in elections in early 2018. He made the comment not long after a well-received speech at a memorial to Václav Havel in which he warned against the country moving away from the European Union. Mr. Pithart, who is 75, was Czech prime minister under the Czechoslovak federation and served as head of the Czech Senate, which he has been a member of since its inception in 1996.
ANO MP: Babiš’s call to scrap Senate not reaction to poor showing
ANO MP Jaroslava Jermanová says party chief Andrej Babiš’s call to scrap the Senate is not a reaction to the party’s poor showing in the second round of elections to the upper house. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Ms. Jermanová said Mr. Babiš has long believed the Senate is unnecessary. However, it is not a party priority at present, she said. ANO won three seats in the second round despite doing best in the first round and having 14 candidates in contention for upper house mandates. Speaking to the news site Novinky.cz on Saturday after the vote count Mr. Babiš said the Senate was unnecessary, slowed the legislative process, cost CZK 600 million a year and no longer had the power to elect the president.
Mass drumming event marks 75th anniversary of first transport of Jews to camps
An event at which a large number of drummers played at Prague’s Bubny train station, from which the Nazis sent Jews to concentration camps, marked the 75th anniversary of the first such transport on Sunday evening. Around 500 percussion instruments were available to visitors to this year’s Drumming for Bubny, which featured well-known Czech drummers including the rock star David Koller. A Memorial of Silence will in the next two years be built at Bubny train station, from which around 50,000 Jews were sent to their deaths. Bubny means drums in Czech.
Twentieth Forum 2000 conference opens in Prague
The 20th edition of the Forum 2000 conference gets underway in Prague on Sunday evening. The event – whose theme this year is “the courage to take responsibility – begins at the city Prague Crossroads centre with a speech from the Slovak president, Andrej Kiska. Some of the debates over the following three days will focus on the legacy of Václav Havel, who was one of the initiators of Forum 2000 while he was president of the Czech Republic. Guests include the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and Russian chess grandmaster and political activist Garry Kasparov.
Loss of Senate seats set to hit coffers of Social Democrats and Civic Democrats
The outcome of the second round of Senate elections is set to hit the coffers of the governing Social Democrats and opposition Civic Democrats, after both lost seats in the upper house. The state gives political parties CZK 900,000 a year for each legislator they have and the Social Democrats will lose around CZK 7.5 million annually while the Civic Democrats will be CZK 4 million worse off. By contrast, the Christian Democrats, the big winners in the Senate elections, will get CZK 4 million more a year, while ANO will receive an extra CZK 1 million.
"Czech Leicester” Zlín lose for first time this season
Zlín have lost for the first time this season in Czech soccer’s top flight. The club’s unexpected positive start to their 2016–2017 campaign earned comparisons in the media with Leicester City, who stunned the football world by winning the English Premier League last season. However, Zlín’s 10-game unbeaten streak came to an end on Saturday night when they went down 2:0 to Teplice. Zlín avoided relegation last season by just three points and play at a 6,000-capacity stadium.
Monday should see some clear spells and temperatures of around 13 degrees Celsius in the Czech Republic. Rain and temperatures ranging from 12 to 8 degrees Celsius are forecast for the rest of the week.