Archive for the ‘European Union’ Category


2010 Czech Parliamentary elections: news, results, comments

In European Union,Politics on May 29, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , ,

Scroll below for continuous update of results, coalition details, etc.

Last night, the interim voter turnout was 50 percent, according to official sources and news outlets (and their exit polls). The overall voter turnout is 61 percent, which is not the highest number in the history of this country, as some people expected, considering the importance of these elections. Traditionally, there are parties with more loyal voters and there are other parties with less loyal voters. Moreover, voter turnout in the Czech Republic is often affected by weather. If and when the weather is nice, many people go to their cottages and weekend retreats and just ignore the elections…

(c) Petr Bokuvka via Microsoft Excel

Political parties that made it to the Parliament (lower house, 200 deputies):

ODSObcanska demokraticka strana – Civic Democratic Party – right-wing [EN Wiki]
TOP09(abbreviation = party name) – right-wing [EN Wiki]
VVVeci verejne – Public matters – center-right-wing [EN Wiki]
CSSDCeska strana socialne demokraticka – Social Democratic Party – left-wing [EN Wiki]
KSCMKomunisticka strana Cech a Moravy – Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia – left-wing [EN Wiki]

Christian Democrats and the Green Party lost their presence in the lower house because they did not reach their respective 5-percent minima… Here are interim results from 98-99 percent of all votes counted:


(c) Petr Bokuvka via Microsoft Excel

The tree parties that are highlighted in red above are expected to form a coalition, which leaves the two left-wing parties in the opposition. Most post-election fears were associated with the fact that the social democrats would invite communists to somehow participate in running this country! So even though social democrats won, they do not have enough seats in the lower house (with communists) to form majority…

(c) Petr Bokuvka via Microsoft Excel


And interesting example of political marketing gone wrong: communists paid to have their ads posted on one major news server even one day after the elections…

One day after the elections, an ad promising what communists have to offer is still paid for and displayed on a major news server...

… to be updated …


Prince Charles will visit Brno – to discuss the environment with students

In Brno,Economy,Education & Science,European Union,Health,Nature,People,Politics on March 4, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,


Several students from Brno will soon be instructed in protocol. Prince Charles will visit Brno on March 23.

The trip to Brno will be a part of his official visit to the Czech Republic. His program in the South Moravian Region includes a debate with selected students of Masaryk University on environmental protection issues. “The debate participants were carefully chosen based on their academic achievements,” said a representative of the university.

…which, I think, is not the best way to discuss hot issues. Not all people who have good grades have the brightest ideas. There are book-smart people and there are reality-smart people. Some students might be average in terms of grades but their input and hidden talents might prove helpful. Just look at politicians who deal with the environment: no real progress here…and one might think that elected representatives are “the best that the country has to offer”.  — I will try to get in as a journalist. 🙂 However, I am fairly convinced that this debate is going to be too diplomatic and too academic. Al Gore would be a better partner for discussions with Czech university students. Is one allowed to say “you are wrong” to a member of the British royal family?


Czech Roma asylum seekers to swamp Canadian refugee shelters

In Economy,Education & Science,European Union,Politics on June 6, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

(c) Getty Images

(c) Getty Images

Hundreds of Czech Roma have left their country to seek asylum in Canada since January 2009. Canadian authorities fear that the situation might get out of control, the National Post in Toronto wrote. The influx is motivated by the Roma’s conviction that they are constantly being discriminated against and that the Czech authorities fail to protect them from the attacks by extreme-right movements. According to AFP among the asylum claimants is the Editor-In-Chief of Czech Radio’s broadcasting for minorities.

No doubt that this minority has experienced oppression and discrimination and even mass extinction attempt during WWII. No doubt that present-day Czech Roma experience problems on the labour market. And no doubt that it is fair to do whatever you can to make your life better — but the idea of asylum in Canada is absurd

In 2009 Europe you don’t have to seek asylum while seeking better life. We are EU members and anyone who is dissatisfied with their job, housing, health care standard etc. may easily try to seek employment in practically ANY EU member state, with some exceptions. Anyone who has been denied to show their potential may do so anywhere. In other words, the Czech Roma who have left their country had their chance to ACTIVELY seek “better life” — but instead they flew across the Atlantic and asked another country to take care of them. No government can promise 100-percent safety; and there have been racist attacks in Canada so the main reasons for going to Canada have nothing to do with the race…

Loud and clear, they have the right to do it de iure. But in terms of asylum policies the Czech Republic is a safe country and several Czech authorities have established that most Roma refugee claimants are “economic refugees”. And in Europe in the year 2009 if you have an EU passport you do not have to be an economic refugee.

Something tells me that Americans should generally dislike this attitude. It is a country that cheers to selfmademen and people whose stories start with “I came to this country with $10 and I started by washing dishes at a drive-in…” or “I went from zero to hero”. So by supporting the Czech Roma financially the Canadian government discriminates other nationalities who come to the country with C$10 and make their own way up by working for a lousy pay…maybe because they are too proud to ask for help…

The relationships between the “majority” and the Roma minority have never been perfect, especially in terms of “coexistence”. When asked “who would you want most to avoid having as a neighbor” most Czechs named “the Roma” due to huge differences in lifestyles. And there is a “favorite” joke in the Czech Republic that even appeared in a certain motion picture: Question: What is the worst thing you can hear from a Roma? Answer: Good morning, neighbor.

On a related note, the Prague Post writes:

The Romany Resistance Movement issued a statement to the Czech News Agency (ČTK) May 28, saying the only way Roma people can protect themselves from attacks is by leaving the country. It also criticized the police for failing to guarantee their safety.

Meanwhile, some 35 Roma from the town of Vysoké Mýto, east Bohemia, left the region last week to seek asylum in Canada, according to the nongovernmental association Nadeje (Hope). Milan Nádvorník, regional manager of Nadeje, said the exodus was likely due to the promise of better social and economic conditions. “It can also be said that actual and self-felt discrimination plays a role,” he said. “To an extent, there’s a degree of actual discrimination happening.”

That discrimination was reflected in a poll released by the CVVM institute May 29, which revealed that relations between the Roma and the rest of the population are now believed to be at their worst in more than a decade. Eighty-five percent of the 1,056 respondents gave a poor assessment of co-existence with Roma, according to CTK [news agency].

There have been numerous attempts to normalize the relationship but so far not much success here. I think we can explain it by the childish “he started it / no, he did” saying. Or we can compare it to two gunmen pointing at each other, both wanting to put their gun down, but NOT wanting to be the first one to do it: everybody must want to solve the problem and everybody must show the same amount of effort… but that is going to take time, money and compromises…


Czech government after no-confidence vote. Early elections coming up?

In Economy,European Union,Politics on March 26, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and his cabinet did not survive a no-confidence vote instigated by the opposition leader Jiri Paroubek. It is a result of multiple disputes which the opposition claims has included forms of political corruption. In my words, fight for power, nothing else.

I said it before and I will say it again: the socialist politician Jiri Paroubek is the biggest danger to this country.

No-confidence vote during an economic crisis, during the Czech EU presidency and shortly after the economic events in Hungary is stupid, stupid, stupid. This is not democracy, this is lust for power. Sure, the senior coalition party of PM Mirek Topolanek (ODS) – or some MP’s, to be exact – have been acting unacceptably, but it is NOT hurting people.

If Paroubek wins the early elections, he will ruin this country economically, I am afraid.

Here is why…

1. In the Czech Republic people who employ vote for right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS), while people who are employed or unemployed vote for socialists (CSSD). In times of economic crisis a socialist PM can promise to do anything his voters but guess who is going to pay for this… those who still employ, who decided to hang in there. And they don’t deserve this because we are all in this crisis together…

In other words, the difference between ODS and CSSD is that ODS creates conditions and says to people “here, try your best”. CSSD just says “if you need anything, you might as well try, but if you don’t, just extend your hand”.

2. If he offers serious cooperation to communists, who are still in the Parliament but play a minor opposition role (having around 12 percent) it will be a huge bummer. Foreign investors will start fleeing because they will recall what happened in 1948 when Czechoslovak communists did their coup and this country was fucked … until 1989. And there will be less employers to employ the voters of Social Democrats…I wonder if Paroubek knows this…


Former Pornstar Endorses the Civic Democrats In the Upcoming Regional Government Elections

In Culture,European Union,Media,Politics on September 1, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , ,

Paula Wild is a former Czech pornstar.

She quit and now she has her own business in the beauty and cosmetics industry. She is said to have her salon in Brno.

A while ago she promoted the Civic Democrats in the upcoming regional government elections in the region of Vysocina — in a political rally turned football/soccer match. After the match the future top politicians (regional councillors) took a picture of the team with Paula posing in the middle, where the goaltender usually sits (yes, the typical team photo).

And you know what? It is gonna work.

And here is why having a (former) pornstar endorsing your party campaign will work in this country.

  • We all do it. Sex is not partisan, with the exception of Christian Democrats. Civic Democrats are a right-wing party, but the same idea would easily work with the social democrats as well. Primitive tabloid newspapers with topless girls and similar topics are generally more read by the working-class people who vote social democrats.
  • This country is 70-percent atheist. The separation of church and state works extremely well in the normal daily lives. People do not think nudity is a sin. Kids are not taught that your body is something to be ashamed of. Sex education is fact-based and is not taught by clergymen. People are open-minded and anything but uptight.
  • Many people think politics is garbage anyway, so unorthodox practices might attract audience. Another thing is that a normal politician would NOT want a voter who gets attracted only by a former pornstar, but hey, they are not perfect. American presidents pick their running-mate vicepresidents who they think will help them win. Whatever works for ya

The region in question is not the one where I am registered (as a permanent resident). But I will follow the stats and results very closely…


Where Do Eurofunds Come From?

In Economy,European Union,Politics on July 18, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , ,

If there is anything about politics that I don’t quite understand, it is the way EU funds work. From what I have heard so far, cities, towns, villages, municipalities, firms, businesses…. GET money from them all the time.

A small Czech village needs a water treatment facility. And bang, all of a sudden the money somehow appears out of nowhere and they can start building so that almost totally clean water comes out of it to a nearby river.

The City of Brno will get close to 100 million CZK for park renovation. Old dead bushes will disappear, there will be new trees, new paths, new lawns and who knows, maybe a new pétanque spot. And the second largest Czech city which of course has more money than a small village will get the money from EU funds.

And so one has to wonder how come officials and other EU bureaucrats managed to find this money and why they gave it to a prosperous city, when there must be hundreds of smaller municipalities all over Europe, especially in Bulgaria or Romania, where they need much more important…necessities. Like public plumbing networks, for instance.

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