“A strong community is important for a happy life”
Text: Martina Hošková and M. Zisso; Photo: Archive
A leader of preschool scouts, life-long Praguer, and married with children – that is the new Mayor of Prague 3, Mr. Michal Vronský. What are the opinions and plans of this young mayor? What does he think a politician’s job is? And how does he want to ensure the beneficial social consensus in his community?
Can you tell us about yourself?
Both of my parents were born in Prague, so I have lived in Prague all my life. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, I became a member of the Boy Scouts, and today I am still a leader of preschool Scout children. I am married and have two children.
Do you have a role model who is a positive inspiration for you?
Having a role model is very important, but it is often forgotten. In my case, if I should give one name, it is Václav Havel.
What made you become the Mayor of Prague 3?
I have been interested in municipal politics in Prague 3 for almost 20 years. At first, we published a watchdog magazine about the City Hall of Prague 3. It was called Kauza3.cz. Later, we understood that if we wanted to change something, we had to become members of a political party. All subsequent decisions then often resulted from the previous ones.
My decision to become a mayor was preceded by many conversations with my wife, for whom this is a very difficult time.
What are the responsibilities of a mayor?
I am responsible for the security and presentation of Prague 3. However, I also have to check on my colleagues and talk them into it a bit. I work 10 to 11 hours every day, which is not healthy in the long run. I believe that, in time, it will calm down and I will be able to relax more.
You were elected the mayor of Prague 3 a few months ago. Can you share some of your impressions so far?
I see that many people turn to the mayor because they believe it will help them solve their age-old problems. That’s hard.
I was delighted to honour the police officers, fire- fighters, and the public for concrete actions that helped increase safety in 2022. Some of the awardees came with their families, and it was obvious that they appreciated the award very much. A nice memory is also the one of a carnival that we organized, where I was masked as the Žižkov TV tower, which people very much appreciated. I hope that I motivated them to come with a great mask next year.
What do you see as the biggest problem in Prague 3?
Our big topic is education. We have one school which is visited mainly by Roma children. Their parents prefer it because it is a safe environment for their children, but they do not integrate, and the quality of education is not the best either. With regard to other schools, they should cooperate more, and prepare children for life in 2040, not for today.
Many people discuss the traffic – parking places, traffic jams, and public transport.
We live in a city where each of us has specific interests, and these interests often go against each other. Finding a balance between them is difficult, but that is the job of politicians.
What are the main working challenges for you and your colleagues?
The Czech society is partially divided nowadays, and I will be glad if we manage to bring it together more and strengthen the neighbourly ties in Prague 3.
A strong community is important for a happy life, in both the city and the village.
What are your plans and strategy as mayor for the next four years?
Over the last four years, Prague 3 has already started participating with people when the reconstruction of a children’s playground etc. was being prepared. We have had a very positive experience with the participation process, and want to participate more with people regarding future solutions. It is a long process, and it costs more money, but social consensus is also a very important goal.
There is a lot of development taking place in Prague 3. How do you look after the interests of citizens in this area?
We must keep an eye on the infrastructure for new citizens. We request three schools, five primary schools, green parks, a medical facility, traffic infrastructure, and more. If we secure these, the new residents will not live at the expense of the current ones. All future courtyards will also be accessible to existing residents. The new district will not be a burden then, but a benefit.
Recently, we got the bad news that there would only be one remaining post office branch, at Olšanská, for the entirety of Prague 3. Can you do anything about it?
Unfortunately, the Czech Post made the decision and did not give us the opportunity for any discussion.
We will negotiate with them about at least extending the opening hours. We are ready to help them with information, so that people know when it is better not to go to the post office at all, or where else they can get the same service. We already operate three Czech Points, so we expect that some of the Czech Post’s customers will move to us.
A mayor’s job comes with a lot of criticism, we would say, especially at the Žižkov part of Prague 3. Are you ready for this?
To be honest, I was really worried about that. What bothers me the most is when people who have never seen me spread „guaranteed“ news about me. I think that we are very often unnecessarily hard on each other. I believe that this rather challenging part comes with public office more often than with other jobs.