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Gov’t approves plan of events to mark Czechoslovak anniversary

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Prague, May 23 (CTK) – The Czech government approved a plan of state-sponsored events to mark 100 years from the establishment of Czechoslovakia this year, PM Andrej Babis told media after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, adding that the plan covers the 24 most important events out of 167 to be staged by public institutions.

The cabinet asked its commissioner in charge of the celebrations, Zdenek Novak, to submit a detailed schedule of the events to be held on October 28, the day when Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918, Babis (ANO) said.

The events on October 28 will include the opening of a joint Czech-Slovak exhibition and the reconstructed National Museum in Prague, Babis said, adding that foreign guests would attend some of these events.

The events to mark the birth of Czechoslovakia are being held all over the country the whole year.

“The key events are scheduled for October 28,” he said.

The celebrations started in late April, when Babis, together with his Slovak counterpart Peter Pellegrini and President Andrej Kiska, opened a Czech-Slovak exhibition marking the centenary of Czechoslovakia at the Bratislava Castle, a joint project of the Czech National Museum and the Slovak National Museum.

On Saturday, Babis and Slovak PM Peter Pellegrini will attend the opening of the Re:publika festival, marking the centenary of the joint state of Czechs and Slovaks that split in 1993, in the Brno exhibition area.

Babis, who was the finance minister in the previous cabinet, said two weeks ago that some of the events were overpriced, such as some of those to be held abroad, while the celebrations should primarily belong to the citizens of the Czech Republic.

Babis said the previous government had approved the 430-million-crown budget of the events without entrusting anyone to supervise them. He wanted Novak to coordinate their financing and single out those which need not be financed by the state.

The events to take place both in the capital of Prague and in the regions include various exhibitions, commemorative acts, festivals and a military parade.

This year, the 100 years of the establishment of Czechoslovakia will be the most important anniversary. Besides, Czechs commemorate the unfortunate anniversaries of the 1948 Communist seizure of power in Czechoslovakia and the 1968 Soviet-led invasion that crushed the Prague Spring communist-led reform movement.

The budget for the events was approved by the previous government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) last May.

Most events are planned by organisations under the Culture Ministry, followed by the Defence Ministry.

The Culture Ministry, so far headed by Ilja Smid (for ANO) in Babis’s ANO minority government that resigned after it lost a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies in January, is to be headed by a Social Democrats (CSSD) under the nascent coalition agreement between ANO and the CSSD.

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