The Prague Mayor
Mudr. Pavel Bem (born 1963 in Prague) is the Lord Mayor of the Capital City of Prague, reelected 2006. In 2006, he was also elected a Deputy Leader of the ODS (Civic Democratic Party).
Pavel Bem studied medicine at Charles University in Prague, specializing in psychiatry and subsequently devoted most of his medical career to the treatment of drug addiction. He served on a government anti-narcotics commission.
A member of the Civic Democratic Party, since 1998 he has been the mayor of the 6th district of Prague, and since 2002 has become the mayor of the entire city of Prague. Skilled in dealing with media, he presents himself as a “hands-on reformer” and a “sportsman” (On May 18th 2007, Bem fulfilled his “boyhood dream” of reaching the peak of Mt. Everest).
When asked if he will move to the posh mayor’s residence in the centre of Prague, he said he had not considered the possibility for a single minute.
The following passage is based on an interview given for Krajske Noviny in 2005
Your original profession is Psychiatry. Are you in touch with it now?
“Yes, I am. I read the specific literature, I lecture, and I try to keep in touch with clinic practice. The reason for it is simple – I think a politician should not stick to his function too much, so he could come back to what he can do the best. It gives great freedom.”
The general public started to recognize you after you started to work as the general secretary of the Anti-drug committee of the Czech Republic. Does your liberal attitude to the Drug abuse changed over the years in politics?
“I was labeled as a liberal by media in the first place. They call me so, because I always declare drug addicts shouldn’t be criminalized, unless they do any harm to the society. They should be cured, instead. It is more practical and effective approach. And no, I haven’t changed my attitude a bit.”
You were the Mayor of Prague 6, now you are the Mayor of the whole Prague, de facto a commandant. Where is the end of your political ambitions?
“The Prague Mayor takes care of 11% of Czech population, 15% of Czech workforce, and 25% of economical strength of the Czech Republic. It is Prague, where the CR gets its 25% GDP. As you can see, the Mayor position is one of the highest executive offices in the country. And no, my ambition is not to be the new leader of ODS (Civic Democratic Party). Prague is a fantastic city and we have lots of work and projects, that need finishing. My place is here.”