Pirate Zdeněk Hřib officially Prague’s new mayor

The outgoing mayor wished him the strength to deal with the challenges

Zdeněk Hřib of the Pirate party has been elected the new mayor of Prague by the City Assembly on Nov. 15. The 39 assembly members voted in favor, while 12 were against and 14 abstained.

The Pirates, Praha Sobě (PS) and the group United Force for Prague (SSP) were the groups voting in favor. The Civic Democrats (ODS) voted against the mayor’s election and ANO abstained.

The bloc United Force for Prague includes TOP 09, Mayors and Independents (STAN), the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and support from the Liberal-Environmental Party (LES) and Jan Kasl's Democrats.

ANO wanted the vote to take place with a secret ballot, but the proposal was not accepted.

The vote was just a formality, as the three now-ruling political groups agreed earlier this week on details of a mission statement and how positions would be divided up.
The Assembly vote took place at the first meeting of the incoming members elected in the Oct. 5–6 municipal elections.

“I promise I will approach this position with the humility it requires. I need to address the long-term challenges facing Prague,” he said immediately after his election.

"I believe a new communication style will be established with both the opposition and citizens,” he added.

Outgoing Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) wished her successor strength and said he would have to ready to deal with failures on his way to finding the true meaning of life.
“I believe you will do [the mayor’s job] well and conscientiously in the interest of Prague, as I tried to do it also. It will not be a simple mission because there are a lot of challenges. It is important to set priorities and meet them,” she added.

Hřib wants to focus on IT and previously said he hopes to significantly reduce the cost of the city’s information systems. Another important issue for the mayor is the smart city concept, which incorporates new technologies into the city’s daily operations.

The new Prague coalition will focus on the completion of the ring roads, building the long-planned Metro D line, brownfield renewal and increasing housing, as well planting of up to 1 million trees fight the effects of global warming.

The ODS actually took more votes than the Pirates in the municipal elections but lacked coalition partners to form a majority.

ODS club deputy chairwoman Alexandra Udženija said the incoming city leadership has completely ignored them, but the Pirates deny this. She added that she was sorry her party was not in charge, since it had won the elections, but the outcome was “part of political life.” “Our party is ready to function so that our city operates transparently and for the benefit of all Prague citizens,” she added.

ANO Assemblyman Patrik Nacher was critical of the incoming coalition’s plans, saying there were no specific dates or details. He also asked where the money to plant 1 million new trees would come from.

The opposition also criticized the absence of TOP 09 leader Jiří Pospíšil and Praha Sobě leader Jan Čižinsky in the City Council. Both will remain as chairmen of their party clubs, but retain their original jobs as a member of European Parliament and mayor of Prague 7 respectively. The Pirates oppose politicians having multiple roles.

Mayor Hřib, 37, is not a Prague native. He comes from Slavičín in the Zlín region. At 37 years old, he is not the youngest. Tomáš Hudeček (TOP 09) was 34.

Hřib studied medicine at the Third Medical Faculty of Charles University and has been involved in medicine and information technology since he graduated.

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