Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for September 7, 2021

Poll shows ANO in the lead ahead of October elections, Hamáček to testify over planned Moscow trip, Google launches dedicated Czech election trends page. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.09.2021 09:57:00 (updated on 07.09.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Poll shows that ANO would win October election

A major new poll has suggested that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party would win the October elections, with 27 percent of the vote. Second place would be taken by the SPOLU coalition, with 21 percent, half a percentage point ahead of the Pirates + STAN coalition. The SPD would get into parliament with nine percent of the vote, as would the Communists with six percent. The Social Democrats would meanwhile miss out on the five percent threshold for entering the Chamber of Deputies. The poll shows that ANO has improved its standing with voters by one percentage point since the start of the holidays, while the SPD has gained two percent. The poll suggests that around 66 percent of voters will go to the polls in October, meaning turnout is likely to be higher than in the last election in 2017.

Hamáček due to testify over planned Moscow trip

Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček (ČSSD) is due to testify to the police today over his planned trip to Moscow in April, which was cancelled following revelations about Russian involvement in explosions in Vrbětice. The case is being investigated by the National Center Against Organized Crime. It has previously been claimed that Hamáček had planned to visit Moscow to obtain Sputnik V Covid vaccines in exchange for information about the explosions, which took place in 2014. Shortly before the trip, Hamáček and Prime Minister Babiš announced that Czech security services believe Russian covert operatives were responsible for the Vrbětice explosions. Hamáček has repeatedly denied allegations about the intentions behind his Moscow trip.

Google launches page showing election trends in the Czech Republic

Google has launched a new election trends page for the Czech Republic, showing in real time how people use the Google search engine to look up political parties, their leaders, and other key terms related to the October elections. The page, which will be accessible until the beginning of October, shows data in graphs and animations, providing insights into how interest in the election is changing over time. Google stressed that data from internet searches cannot be confused with data from traditional election polls. Current Prime Minister Andrej Babiš currently has by the far largest share of internet interest, according to the Google page, being the subject of 70 percent of searches for political leaders. The Pirates are the most searched-for party, however.

Hollywood investment into the Czech Republic booms during pandemic

Hollywood is poised to surpass its record pre-Covid pandemic investments into central Europe thanks to international productions such as “The Gray Man”, a $200 million Netflix action thriller starring Ryan Gosling, shot in Prague this summer. The decision to keep productions rolling throughout most of the pandemic has helped fuel a swift bounce-back for the Czech film industry, according to industry leaders. The Czech Republic became a “go to” country for foreign filmmakers by ensuring exemptions to border shutdowns, quarantines and other restrictions for productions. Other incentives in the region include experienced film crews, low labor costs and generous production incentives. New projects are now expected to push investment in foreign films in the Czech Republic past the record-breaking CZK 9 billion seen in 2019.

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma pays surprise tribute to Holocaust victims in Prague

After his concert as part of the Prague Sounds festival, world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma gave surprise informal concerts at Prague’s Jewish cemetery and on a boat at Čertovka on Sunday afternoon. The 18-time Grammy Award winner, famous for his interpretations of Bach’s Cello Suites, performed with multi-instrumentalist Jiří Slavík on a cruise through Čertovka and under Charles Bridge, performing a range of Czech pieces before finishing with Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind. Then, he played an informal street concert at Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery to pay tribute to victims of the Holocaust.

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