The Czech minister of labour and social affairs, Petr Krčál, has
announced his resignation, only weeks after being appointed. The news came
a day after reports that the Social Democrat politician had plagiarised a
major part of his university thesis.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Jan Hamáček, said Mr. Krčál would be replaced by Jana Maláčová, a senior official at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Earlier this month ANO appointee Taťána Malá stood down as minister of justice after also facing accusations of plagiarism during her student career.
Under new European rules the billionaire Czech prime minister, Andrej
Babiš of ANO, will have to prove that he does not control the trust fund
in which he last year placed the company Agrofert, the news website
Earlier this month the European Parliament rubberstamped new conflict of interest regulations that bars senior politicians from receiving subsidies.
If Mr. Babiš failed to show distance between him and the trust fund either he would have to stand down or Agrofert would miss out on grants, Neovlivni.cz said.
A spokesman said the new rules should not affect Agrofert as the prime minister is neither the owner of the trust fund nor the person who controls it.
Government leaders ANO have a new head of the party’s ticket for local
elections this autumn. Businessman Petr Stuchlík will lead ANO’s
campaign in the city. He replaces the original nominee Patrik Nacher, who
will now be second on the party’s candidate list.
The current ANO mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová, is not standing again. Mr. Stuchlík’s candidature must now be approved by the party’s executive committee.
The Czech Republic has rejected Italy’s request for EU members to share out some 450 asylum seekers rescued at sea. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said Italy’s decision to admit more migrants went against the agreement reached at the last EU summit and stressed that Europe must send out a clear signal that its doors were closed to further asylum seekers.
The Czech Republic will not accept any illegal migrants, Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš told the Czech News Agency on Sunday in reaction to Italy’s
appeal to the EU for help with taking in African migrants.
Mr Babiš pointed out that the EU agreement on migration was based on a voluntary basis. He said taking in more migrants was not a solution, and would only increase Europe’s problem.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has appealed to EU countries to take in some of the 450 migrants rescued from an overcrowded ship in the Mediterranean on Saturday. France and Malta have already agreed to host 50 people each and other EU members states will also take some of the asylum seekers.
Social Democrat MP Milan Chovanec says he is ready to give up his seat in
the lower house if the party’s deputies group expels him over his failure
to back the government. The former interior minister did not show up on
Wednesday for a vote of confidence in a coalition government comprising his
party and ANO. He said he could not raise his hand for the alliance for
reasons of conscience.
In an interview with Friday’s edition of the newspaper Právo, Mr. Chovanec said he had not wished to go against the Social Democrats’ party base but could not take any more.
He said more store should have been set in the party’s pre-election pledges not to enter government with ANO leader Andrej Babiš. Mr. Babiš is facing criminal charges over alleged fraud.
The Czech Republic will not change its plans regarding defence spending
following a NATO summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on
Thursday. The Prague government will therefore continue increasing defence
spending with a view to reaching the equivalent of 2 percent of gross
domestic product by the year 2024.
U.S. President Donald Trump had pushed for accelerated spending on weapons at the two-day summit. Mr. Babiš said he had told Mr. Trump that it was important to speak about absolute expenditures on armaments.
The acting Czech minister of foreign affairs, Jan Hamáček, who was also at the summit, said attention should be paid to Mr. Trump’s arguments regarding the amount the U.S. was spending on Europe’s defence.
ANO would have won elections last month with 31 percent of the vote,
suggests an opinion poll conducted by the CVVM agency. The
government-leading party garnered just under 30 percent in elections last
The survey indicates the Civic Democrats would have come second last month on 14 percent of the vote, ahead of the Social Democrats on 11 percent. The Christian Democrats gained compared to previous CVVM polls, while the Pirates, the Social Democrats and Freedom and Direct Democracy slipped.
Neither TOP 09 nor the Mayors and Independents would have reached the 5 percent threshold needed to return to Parliament, the survey indicates.