The majority of Prague residents are “unsatisfied” with their new mayor and further consider the alliance between the center-right Civic Democrats (ODS) and the center-left Social Democrats (ČSSD) in the city’s assembly to be “immoral,” according to a poll by the Center for Analysis and Empirical Studies (SANEP).
More than half (53.5 percent) of respondents were “unsatisfied” with Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (ODS) while 18.3 percent were “rather unsatisfied” with the new municipal head, SANEP said. He was not the popular choice — he was elected to the post by members of the Prague assembly on Nov. 30. amid public protests — and only 12.2 percent of respondents said they were “rather satisfied” with Svoboda and 9.9 percent were “satisfied.”
Upstart political party TOP 09’s mayoral candidate in Prague, former Czech National Bank (ČNB) Governor Zdeněk Tůma, was swept to what turned out to be a hollow victory in last month’s local elections, as the ODS–ČSSD alliance froze out the election winner. Zdeněk Tůma’s victory in the Prague elections turned out to be a hollow oneAn overwhelming 55 percent of those polled by SANEP said they agreed that the ODS–ČSSD alliance in Prague is “immoral” and against the interests of the city’s residents. A further 15.3 percent said they tended to agree with this statement, suggesting that over 70 percent of Praguers oppose the coalition.
The SANEP poll, conducted among Internet users of various ages and social categories, indicates that Sobotka faces a monolithic task if he is to win Praguers’ trust and support.
The previous Prague City council led by mayor of eight years Pavel Bem (ODS) became embroiled in various corruption allegations and leaders of the public opposition to the ODS–ČSSD alliance, formed following elections to the assembly on Oct. 15–16, claim representatives of the two partied agreed to form a coalition in order to protect business interests.
Call for change
“The poll also confirms that Praguers share out concerns that the new leadership in City Hall is an insufficient guarantor of transparency and anti-corruption measures,” Marek Jehlička, leader of the ZmenPolitiku (Change Politics) civil movement, which organized the Nov. 30 protest against the ODS–ČSSD coalition, told Czech Position.
“At this moment we are not planning any further demonstrations. Nevertheless, we encourage Praguers to attend tomorrow’s session [Dec. 14] of the municipal assembly, where some interesting points are on the program, including a proposal to remove right to silence of municipal employees, committee members and the selection committee in the Opencard case,” Jehlička said.
Opencard is the controversial project for paying for municipal services, such as public transport, parking and library fees put in place by the previous mayor, Pavel Bém (ODS). An independent audit completed in November 2009 found that Kč 888 million had been spent on the Opencard project and concluded that the results fell short of justifying the money invested.