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In the News 9.6.09

On EP elections, winners and losers, Milada Horáková and cadavers of Chinese people in Brno

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PUBLISHED 10.06.2009
LAST UPDATED 10.06.2009







WHO IS THE WINNER? Who is the real winner of the European parliament elections? Those who won the highest number of seats but have been represented in EP (Civic Democrats) or those who won a relatively high number of seats for the first time (Social Democrats) or those who were on the verge of splitting up and surprisingly won EP seats too (Christian Democrats)?

The Civic Democratic party (ODS) with its 31.45 percent of the vote emerged as an official winner, while Social Democrats (ČSSD) gained 22.38 percent of the voters' support.

But Social Democrats suffered bad loss in the 2004 polls with only 2 MEPs up until now. Following the 2009 polls, they will have five more people in the EU parliament. That can be viewed as victory, too.

Popularity of Christian Democrats has been sinking sharply in the past few months and their gain of 7.64 percent came as a surprise to many as well.

The turnout is general was historically the lowest - 42.93 percent. But it is only a "slight decline"  compared to 44.4 percent in 2004, as EP web site points out. But you know media - it is easier to sell your article headlined "A record low turnout" than "A slight decline in turnout".

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TOUGH CALL FOR THE GREENS. Following the Greens failure to score in the EP elections, party leader Martin Bursík resigned from his post. There are not many political leaders that would do the same in the past.

Ondřej Liška, former education minister and fellow party member, has become the acting boss until the party elects a new leader. But Bursík is not planning to be among the candidates.

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KLAUS ON ELECTIONS. In the meantime Czech president Klaus said Czech voters failed to "recognize the importance of the EP elections". It may sound interestingly contradictory to his recent remark that the EP elections are unnecessary but he was quick this time to add that the low turnout did not surprise him at all.

"It is evident that standard and established political parties have succeeded, and that the attempts by several tens of small groupings, most of them gathered around one or two persons, have no chance," Klaus told press agency CTK. And he was true (this time).

A majority of the small parties experienced debacle, including all three eurosceptic parties that were close to his heart and mind.

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SHOW TRIAL ON TV. If you switched on Czech TV these days and there was a black and white picture for more than an hour  every day, you may have wondered what all the talk about "treason, conspiracy and hate of People's republic" is.

It has been a show trial, orchestrated by the Communist Party, during which a pro-democratic MP Milada Horáková was sentenced to death on trumped-up charges of espionage and treason.

Ironically, Brožová-Polednová whose fiery speech one could not miss asked on Monday to have her 8-year sentence suspended. Brožová-Polednová was found guilty for sending Horáková to the gallows.

"Her (Horáková's) hate for our People's Democratic republic is bottomless," said Brožová-Polednová in her speech.

One does not need to follow Czech fluently to get the message. Horáková's somewhat saddened face, but not over her faith, rather over the people (and their stupidity) that surrounded her, is very telling and needs no comment.

Switch on Czech TV Program 2 to see and/or hear the final part of the trial - verdict. We all know what it was but to see it as it all happened is mind-boggling. Hopefully it will teach a lesson to those who yearn for "good ol' communist times".

It seems like former communist prosecutor Ludmila Brožová-Polednová will be remembered for two infamous records: She was the country's youngest prosecutor that helped to send people to the gallows and now being imprisoned at 87, she is the country´s oldest prisoner.

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COMMUNISTS CRY FOUL OVER TRIAL. Leader of the Czech Communist Party (KSČM) Vojtěch Filip criticized the Czech public service TV for broadcasting one of the most notorious show trials of communist-era Czechoslovakia.

According to Filip, broadcasting the trial in the run-up to the EP polls may influence the Czech voters. The unreformed party asked Czech TV the program be suspended. Czech TV argued they wanted to broadcast it on the same days it took place, that is from May 31 and until June 9.

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CADAVERS IN BRNO. The very first day the controversial exhibition of human bodies opened to public on the outskirts of Brno on Tuesday, the local council received a complaint against the show.

The same man who tried in vain to have the exhibition stopped when it was on display in Prague's Lucerna hall two years ago appealed to the councilors of Modřice to issue a temporary restraining order against it, claiming that putting remains of deceased people on public display amounted to a breach of funerary law.


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