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

25-05-2014 23:44 updated | Jan Velinger

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).

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Babiš: Czech Republic shouldn’t accept any refugees

27-07-2016 09:06 | Ian Willoughby

The head of the second biggest party in the Czech government, Andrej Babiš of ANO, says he is opposed to accepting any refugees from Turkey under a European Union scheme. The minister of finance and deputy prime minister wrote on his Facebook page that he did not believe such refugees could be integrated into Czech society. Attempting to do so would be a huge risk in view of the atrocities carried out in Germany by people denied asylum, Mr. Babiš said. It was reported on Tuesday that the Czech Republic would take in 80 refugees from Turkey and 10 from Greece. ANO have consistently led in opinion polls for some time. 

Hollande cancels Prague visit after killing of priest

27-07-2016 07:48 | Ian Willoughby

The French president, Francois Hollande, has cancelled a planned visit to Prague on Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday’s brutal killing of a priest in a church near Rouen in an attack claimed by Islamic State. Mr. Hollande had been due to visit the Czech capital last week but cancelled that trip after a terrorist attack in Nice on Bastille Day that left 84 dead. The French leader will speak to Czech President Miloš Zeman by telephone on Wednesday, the latter’s spokesperson said. 

Czech sides draw in Champions League qualifiers

27-07-2016 07:29 | Ian Willoughby

Czech football title-holders Viktoria Plzeň could only manage a 0:0 home draw with Quarabag of Azerbaijan in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie on Tuesday night. A score draw or win in next week’s return leg would see Plzeň through to the final qualifying round for the prestigious competition. Sparta Prague, meanwhile, drew 1:1 at home with Romanian side Steaua Bucharest at the same stage of qualification. 

Czech tourist dies after being struck by lightning in Tatras

26-07-2016 20:14 | Ian Willoughby

A Czech tourist died on Tuesday after being struck by lightning in the Western Tatra Mountains in Slovakia, the local mountain service said. The man, who was aged 36 and came from the Moravian town of Kroměříž, was hit while on the ridge between the Predný Salatín and Brestová mountains and could not be revived after sustaining a serious head injury. 

LN: Czech Republic to take in 80 Syrian refugees

26-07-2016 16:39 updated | Jan Velinger

The Czech Republic will take in 80 Syrian migrants in Turkish refugee camps per the European Union’s agreement with Turkey, Czech daily Lidové noviny reports. The newspaper cited Czech Interior Ministry spokeswoman Hana Malá as confirming the move. The exact date of their arrival was not specified but they are expected in the Czech Republic sometime in October. Two weeks ago the Czech Republic received files on Syrian refugees interested in applying for asylum from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; vetting is being conducted by the security services. Ten refugees from camps in Greece will also be accepted under the EU scheme. 

Czech Catholic leader Duka condemns attack on French church

26-07-2016 16:37 | Ian Willoughby

The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, has condemned Tuesday’s brutal attack on a church in France in which armed men killed a priest and injured three other people. Cardinal Duka said that with the attack on the Saint-Etienne du Rouvray church near Rouen we had witnessed a “dangerous precedent”. He said churches were not a place for demonstrations, activism or other violent imposition of someone’s will but rather a place of meeting with the Lord. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Czech Republic to spend CZK 10 billion replacing Russian helicopters

26-07-2016 13:25 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic is planning to buy 12 military helicopters at a cost of around CZK 10 billion crowns, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on a visit to a helicopter base in Náměšť nad Oslavou on Tuesday. The new aircraft will replace existing Russian ones and only firms from NATO and EU states are likely to be allowed enter the tender process. The state will also put over CZK 500 million into renovating the base in Náměšť nad Oslavou, a process that should be completed in 2018, according to Mr. Sobotka. 

Film set against backdrop of 1968 invasion set for September release

26-07-2016 12:45 | Ian Willoughby

The film Code Name Holec (Krycí jméno Holec) set against the backdrop of the August 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia will be released in Czech cinemas in September, a spokesperson for the distributors said on Tuesday. The movie is based on a short story by Jan Němec and also takes place in Vienna. A number of scenes were shot around the Czech Radio building in Vinohrady, where some of the most intense fighting took place in 1968. 

Nurse not guilty of murdering patients, court confirms

26-07-2016 12:34 | Ian Willoughby

The Prague Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal taken by the state attorney’s office after a nurse accused of murdering six patients was found innocent by a lower court. Věra Marešová had been accused of injecting patients with overdoses of potassium at a hospital in the north Bohemian town of Rumburk between 2010 and 2014. She had denied the charge from the beginning. 

Minister wants to allow Czechs to build houses without planning permission

26-07-2016 11:29 | Ian Willoughby

Czechs will be able to build houses without having to acquire planning permission according to a plan put forward by the minister of regional development, Karla Šlechtová, iHned.cz reported. Under her proposal, people would just have to register a declaration of intent to build with their local authority. At present that is possible only for structures of 150 square metres or less. Minister Šlechtová’s plan is contained in a draft amendment to the building law, which the government is expected to consider in around a month’s time. If approved, it would come into effect next year. 

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