Mayor candidates 2010: Markéta Reedová

The Prague Post

Reedová resigned from city council in 2009 amid disgust with corruption

Public Affairs (VV) mayoral candidate Markéta Reedová doesn’t pay much attention to polls, including recent ones that show her party running far behind in the race to lead Prague City Council.

“The media has an obsession with polls, and they seem to want a decision before the election is actually held,” she said.

Reedová had been a member of the Union of Independent European Democrats (SNK ED) party since 2002 and served as Prague deputy mayor from 2006 to 2009. She stepped down in December 2009 following a failed bid to push through anti-corruption plans and what she called “the last straw” in the controversial OpenCard project.

“If you want to implement anti-corruption measures, it must be a priority for everyone, and it must have strong political support,” she said. “For the future, it must be the mayor who’s responsible; [he or she] needs to make it known it is a priority for the council, and each member must implement it.”

Reedová joined VV in February, and said it came naturally. After local elections in 2006 and more recent European Union elections, SNK ED “was slowly deteriorating; lots of people left, so the party decided we wouldn’t go to elections on our own but with VV.”

She says she joined the upstart party when they had about a 2 percent approval rating, but says she’s pleased with what they’ve accomplished as a part of the governing coalition at the national level.

“It’s a big risk. There are lots of expectations for a new party,” she said. “With it comes a lot of responsibility.”

Reedová seems to relish the opportunity to take on that responsibility if elected.

“We need to think more strategically. City Council, not developers, should make decisions,” she said. “I’d like to stop the misuse of money for projects that aren’t useful, and I want to minimize corruption. There’s not enough money for useful projects Prague needs.”

She considers some of her successes as deputy mayor to be an independent audit of the city’s potential corruption risk, an anti-corruption portal for people to share ideas and report abuse, putting the auto registration process online and developing an electronic public procurement system.

While Reedová still rates anti-corruption measures high on her potential mayoral to-do list, there’s another problem she believes is the city’s biggest.

“It’s the same as in many cities: traffic,” she said. “Prague is not designed for so many cars, and our traffic policy is from the 1960s.”

Finishing the inner and outer ring roads and building sufficient park-and-ride capacity are big priorities.

“[The Civic Democrats] promised 14,000 park-and-ride spaces 10 years ago, and today we have 3,500,” she said.

In addition to dealing with traffic, Reedová says clear priorities must be set for the city, as well as how projects will be paid for.

“Normally, the winning party puts into the budget lots of projects with no thought to funding,” she said. “The city’s debt isn’t very high, but there’s no reserve.”

Analyzing and revising some of the city’s current projects and making some personnel changes are also in her plans.

“City Hall isn’t run only by politicians, but also civil servants, some who have strong, unhealthy connections to parties, lobbyists and other groups,” she said.

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Top priority: Traffic

OpenCard: “We prefer to use the OpenCard only as a commuting ticket for Prague’s transport system, but people should not be pushed into it. In any case, we support revoking the decision to establish an incorporated company of the Prague Public Transit Company to manage this project. It must be under public control by the Prague Assembly.”

Airport connection: “We prefer a railway connection, with reconstruction of the current railway to Kladno and a new branch line to the airport.”

Cleaning up public spaces: “First of all, these places must be permanently supervised by the Municipal Police in cooperation with the State Police to abate drug dealing, drug-taking in public, pickpocketing, homelessness and prostitution. Another step is the regulation or elimination of casinos and gambling clubs, which is partly dependent on an amendment to the current lottery law.”

Prague ring road: “The inner and outer ring road, subway line D and the new wastewater treatment plant are three high-priority infrastructure projects in next decade. We would like to finish the inner ring road and start the other projects in the next electoral term. The external ring road is in the hands of the Transport Ministry, but we’d do our best to push it through.”