SUITCASES full of money are rarer than they once were in executive Europe, and today’s crime customarily takes some-more temperate forms—conflicts of seductiveness on open contracts, or increase funnelled offshore to equivocate taxes. In a Czech Republic, however, aged habits die hard. Petr Necas, a former primary minister, was charged final year with usurpation bribes in a long-running case involving an event with his afterwards chief-of-staff (now his wife), millions of dollars in cash, and outrageous numbers of Gucci handbags. Transparency International’s many recent Corruption Perceptions Index ranked a nation only above Rwanda. But Transparency International also had some good news to report. In December, a former conduct of a organisation’s possess Czech branch, Adriana Krnacova, took over as mayor of Prague, vowing to purify adult a notoriously dull and graft-plagued city administration.Politics
Ms Krnacova says a problems during City Hall were apparent immediately on her arrival. It was not that city agencies were behaving poorly; they seemed not to be behaving during all. “I suspicion we would find a functioning office, some secretariat that was doing their job, though that was not a case. It was empty,” she says.
The many gross instance of metropolitan shenanigans is OpenCard, an electronic label that serves as both a movement and library pass. The project, that debuted in 2008, was mostly outsourced to private companies, and has so distant cost a city some-more than 1.5 billion koruny ($62m) to implement. Several bureaucrats have received dangling sentences in propinquity to a proposal process, though injured contracts were nonetheless renewed, even after a convictions.
In Jun 2014, City Hall took over a administration of a OpenCard complement directly after unwell to determine to new terms with a private organisation that managed a technology, eMoneyServices. The complement has given been tormented with problems, though a city is incompetent to correct program bugs given eMoneyServices has demanded $2m in sell for a rights to a exclusive handling system. The association says a city owes it millions of dollars some-more for before services as well; a lawsuit is pending. Ms Krnacova primarily refused to negotiate, disapproval eMoneyServices as “terrorists”, though has given concluded to talks. The city will lapse to paper movement passes in Mar if no agreement can be reached. Police continue to examine a proposal process, and council has carried a rapist shield of Bohuslav Svoboda, a former mayor who is now an MP. In early February, military asked council to lift his shield in a together box over a botched review of city ride contracts, as well. (Mr Svoboda has not been charged in possibly case.)
The 54-year-old Ms Krnacova formerly served a brief tenure as a emissary interior minister, though this is her initial try into electoral politics. She ran on a sheet of a newly determined ANO party, a domestic car of Andrej Babis, a billionaire nobleman and media noble who now serves as financial minister. Both Ms Krnacova and Mr Babis are Slovak-born; they both confess to see politics as a government problem. This technocratic picture has put ANO on tip of open opinion polls. But while ANO is positively sharp and professional, it might not be as technocratic as it seems. The celebration has a settlement of putting in bureau obvious faces who act as figureheads. Martin Stropnicky, a stream counterclaim minister, was a informed film and radio actor before apropos a member of council for ANO, and is not seen as sportive genuine control over counterclaim policy.
Ms Krnacova, too, was a obvious face before ANO ran her for a mayoral slot. But she might practice reduction energy in Prague than Radmila Kieslova, a president of a city’s ANO bend and conduct of a 10th district. Ms Kleslova, who formerly served Prague’s emissary mayor for another party, assimilated ANO in Feb 2014 and became a conduct of a Prague bend a same month. During a comrade era, she worked for a tip services (the StB), recruiting spies to be sent abroad. Mr Babis himself won a lawsuit to have his name private from an central list of former StB agents.
Ms Krnacova’s fondness with Mr Babis is rather surprising. Transparency campaigners do not customarily fan themselves with a domestic campaigns of billionaires who possess their possess media empires. Pressed on a point, Ms Krnacova is somewhat annoyed, and responds with a gossamer evidence that a abounding might be reduction disposed to corruption, given they are already rich. She adds: “I can’t contend what we would have suspicion in a past. we trust him.”
Changing a modus operandi in Prague’s City Hall would be formidable underneath any circumstances, though Ms Krnacova leads what amounts to a six-party bloc with a razor-thin one-seat infancy in a 65-seat assembly. The antithesis includes many allies of a politicians obliged for a OpenCard disaster and other fiascos. What does Prague’s new mayor have going for her in her bid to purify a place up? Her miss of ego, she says. “I am not masculine and we am not young. we don’t cruise it a competition, rather a managerial task.” One hopes she has some other collection adult her sleeve.