Black hole, Babiš-led quartet of busts spring up in Prague's Old Town Square

Dubbed "The Mafia Column," the installation warns of corruption ahead of the upcoming elections.


Written by ČTK Published on 19.09.2022 14:35:00 (updated on 19.09.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The candidates of the election coalition Solidarita staged a rally for the unveiling of a set of four busts, dubbed the Mafia Column, at the Old Town Square in the Prague center today to warn of corruption before the local and Senate elections.

The busts depict former prime minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), former Prague mayor Pavel Bém (formerly Civic Democrat, ODS), and influential businesspeople Roman Janoušek and Ivo Rittig. The name in Czech is "Mafiánský sloup," which is a pun on the nearby "Mariánský sloup" or Marian Column.

Anna Šabatová, who heads the Solidarita list of candidates as an independent, said the city was threatened by a return to earlier times when behind-the-scenes players influenced Prague politics.

The four busts were created by sculptor Jan Padyšák, and Solidarita representatives installed them around an optical illusion depicting the black hole on the square.

"We want to warn the citizens of Prague of the time when such people as Rittig and Janoušek used to decide on things behind the scenes," Šabatová said.

"We are offering an alternative that is sensitive to social and environmental affairs, supports solidarity, and has no ties to the previous mafia cliques," she added.

Šabatová said she could see a risk in the creation of the post-election coalition of ANO and Spolu, which is a group consisting of the ODS, TOP 09, and Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL). Spolu currently heads the Czech government.

Solidarita said the Spolu list of candidates nominated the same people who were in the City Hall at the time of Pavel Bém, who served as mayor between 2002 and '10.

"We consider the coalition of ANO and Spolu the biggest peril of these elections," the Solidarity candidates said.

Šabatová said that just like in the Chamber of Deputies, there was a critical absence of the democratic left in the Prague Assembly.

The local and Senate elections will be held this Friday and Saturday. In Prague, there will be an election for the Prague Assembly and for 57 city districts. This will also decide the next Prague mayor and City Council. Elections will also take place for three senators in the districts Prague 6, Prague 10, and Prague 11.

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