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25-05-2014 18:38 | Jan Velinger

ANO has come first among Czech parties vying for seats in European Parliament

The ANO movement, headed by businessman turned politician Andrej Babiš, has come first among Czech parties running in the European Parliamentary election. In the Czech Republic, a record 38 parties and movements fielded 849 candidates for 21 seats in the 751-strong assembly. Several polls had indicated in days prior to the vote that ANO was the front-runner but one survey put centre-right opposition party TOP 09 in front.

The results were nevertheless close: ANO finished with 16.12 percent of the vote, which translates into four mandates and TOP 09 gained 15.95 percent, likewise four mandates.

The ruling coalition leaders, the Social Democrats, finished third with 14.17 percent. Another four parties passed the five percent threshold to make into the European Parliament: the Communists (10.98%), the Christian Democrats (9.95%), the Civic Democrats (7.67%) and the Free Citizens’ Party (5.24%).

Some of the successful candidates on the ballot who won seats include Pavel Telička (ANO), Jiří Pospíšil (TOP 09), Jan Keller (Social Democrats), Kateřina Konečná (Communist Party), and Michaela Šojdrová (Christian Democrats).

Ukrainians in Prague and Brno vote in Ukraine's presidential election

Hundreds of Ukrainian nationals waited calmly in lines in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Prague as well as the Ukrainian consulate in Brno on Sunday to cast their vote in Ukraine’s presidential election. The polls remain open until Sunday evening. Ukrainians are electing a new head-of-state following months of unrest after the ousting of former president Viktor Yanukovych. Pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country have reportedly managed to violently disrupt voting in areas.Ukrainians rank among the largest minorities in the Czech Republic: the number of eligible voters in the Czech capital is 14,437 and there are an additional 3,268 in the Czech Republic’s second-largest city.

Czech national hockey team finishes outside of the medals at the Ice Hockey World Championships

The Czech national hockey team finished outside of the medals at the Ice Hockey World Championships on Sunday, losing to Sweden in the bronze medal match. Although the Czechs were active throughout, hitting the post twice and deflecting a shot which hit the opposing goaltender’s mask, they were not able to get on the scoreboard. For the second-straight game they lost 3:0. Sunday’s match may be Jaromír Jágr’s last for the national squad: the legendary player told TSN some time ago that the would not be back next year. In 2015, the worlds are being held in Prague and Ostrava.

Prague 7 referendum results invalid due to low voter turnout

The results of a referendum in Prague 7 which proposed two options on the future of gambling terminals and venues in the district are not valid due to low voter turnout. Only 25.2 percent of locals came to the polls - well short of the minimum 35 percent needed. The referendum presented two options: one of curbing the number of existing venues, the other, of introducing an outright ban. Of those who came to the polls, 3,330 people voted in favor of reducing gambling venues from 26 to 20, while 6,666 voted for ‘zero tolerance’. Even a conclusive result would still have needed approval from Prague City Hall.

Website: fewer Czechs consuming hard liquor

Czech alcohol producers are continuing to suffer lean years, Czech news website iDnes reports. The number consuming hard liquor has dropped steadily over the last decade, with the market further suffering in 2009 due to the world economic crisis and in 2012 when the country was hit by widespread methanol poisoning, forcing the government to instate temporary prohibition. Domestic brands especially have suffered with many buyers opting for established imports. While last year the number of those drinking hard liquor went up by three percent, the figure is measured against the year 2012 when the methanol crisis broke - a year producers and drinking establishments suffered losses in the millions.

Filla painting fetches 14 million

Head of Man with Pipe, a work by cubist painter Emil Filla dating back to 1915, was auctioned in Prague on Sunday for 14 million crowns. The starting price was a full million less. Art experts consider the painting, from Filla’s ‘Dutch period’, one of his most significant. The work has been exhibited many times abroad.

Website: Actress Švandová taken to hospital for possible injury after suffering head-on collision

Czech actress Jana Švandová (66) was taken to a hospital for tests on Saturday to determine whether she had suffered a spinal injury after a traffic accident, the news website iDnes reports. Her vehicle and another crashed head-on, according to the daily. The tabloid Blesk reported that the other motorist had failed to respect weather conditions, skidding on the wet road surface. Police confirmed they were investigating. Jana Švandová is known for roles in dozens of films including The Lovers in Year One and The Garden. In the 1990s, she was the first Czech star to pose for Playboy magazine.

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