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18-11-2019, 08:54 UTC
Living Czech

A week is a long time in politics...

Hello and welcome to Living Czech. I'm Nick Carey, and I am joined in the studio today by Jana Kotalikova. This week we will take a look at the murky world of politics in Czech.

Many of the terms we come across that deal with politics in Czech come from English, and quite often these terms themselves are Greek derivatives. Politics itself translates as politika in Czech, and anyone involved in this profession is a politik, or politician. Throughout the course of today's spot you will no doubt hear words that are very familiar.

In the parliamentary democracy that now exists in the Czech Republic, there are of course a number of politické strany, or political parties in parlament, parliament, which of course range from right-wing, or pravicové, parties, like the Obèanská demokratická strana, the Civic Democratic Party, which is the main opozièní strana, or opposition party, to left-wing or levicové strany like the ruling Èeská strana sociálnì demokratická, the Social Democrat Party or even the ever present Komunistická strana Èech a Moravy, or Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.

When the time comes to choose a new bunch of politici, politicians to represent the nation, then volby, or elections are held. Volby is basically the plural of the word volba, choice, and so volby could also be translated literally as choices. The people go to the volební místa, literally polling places, to volit, vote. The verb volit is again related to volba, and can also mean to choose.

The party that wins the volby, elections gets to form a vláda, or government. The noun vláda is related to the verb vládnout, which means to rule. Since 1989, Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic have not seen a majoritní vláda or majority government formed by just one party, but have been ruled by koalièní vlády, or coalition governments. Up until 1998, this was a koalice, coalition, of the pravicové strany, or right-wing parties. Now the situation is that we have a men¹inová vláda or minoritní vláda, a minority government, formed by the Social Democrats a levicová strana, left-wing party, and they are supported by the Civic Democrats, a pravicová strana, or right-wing party, via something called the opozièní smlouva, opposition agreement, or as it is often called the opozièní pakt. This is a very strange political set up indeed, as anyone who has been following Czech politics will know.

After the volby, elections, the prezident, president chooses the premiér, or prime minister, who is more commonly referred to in Czech as the pøedseda vlády, or government chairman and asks him to form his vláda. The pøedseda vlády will then choose his ministøi, ministers, who each have control of a ministerstvo, ministry. These are also called resorty.

Now we move on to one of the darker sides of politika, politics, and just as everywhere in the world, we unfortunately see skandály, or scandals involving politicians here. There have been various skandály involving korupce, corruption, podplácení, bribery, vydírání, blackmail or a recent newcomer to the Czech language, tunelování, tunnelling, which means asset stripping. This term has now been adopted by various languages.

Well, that's all we have time for this week. Next week we will take a look at a lighter topic, going shopping in Czech. Until then, mìjte se pùvabnì, or take care.

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