President Miloš Zeman has collected enough signatures from Czech citizens
to be able to run for office for a second time. His official campaign
manager, his wife Ivana, said during a short briefing on Wednesday that he
had gathered just under 60,000 signatures.
Mr. Zeman’s drive to collect signatures from voters was launched at the end of April. He has become the second candidate to surpass the threshold of 50,000 signatures, after businessman and songwriter Michal Horáček.
Shooting on a new Czech film about Jan Palach is due to begin on Thursday.
The movie will focus on the final months in the life of the student who set
himself on fire in central Prague in January 1969 in protest at societal
apathy in the wake of the Soviet invasion of the previous August.
The film has been written by one-time Charter 77 spokesperson Eva Kantůrková and will be directed by Robert Sedláček. If all goes according to plan, it will receive its premiere on August 21 next year, the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Soviet tanks in the then Czechoslovakia.
The Social Democrats’ candidate for prime minister, current foreign
minister Lubomír Zaorálek, says entrepreneurs who do not pay decent wages
are incompetents and scoundrels. He told reporters on Wednesday that anyone
who claimed their firm would go under if the minimum wage was increased was
incapable of doing business in such a way as to provide a normal life for
their employees and should quit.
The Social Democrats are set to push for an increase in the monthly minimum wage from CZK 11,000 to CZK 12,200 at a cabinet meeting next week.
Mr. Zaorálek and his party’s social affairs minister, Michaela Marksová, said the current minimum wage was undignified given that monthly salaries of CZK 10,640 were considered poverty level.
Members of Andrej Babiš’s family attempted to obfuscate the ownership
structure of the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel with a view to covering up
links between it and the ANO leader, Czech Radio reported on Wednesday,
quoting the police.
The station said this allegation was contained in the police’s application to the Chamber of Deputies to lift the immunity of Mr. Babiš and a party colleague so they can be tried for abuse of subsidies in connection with Stork’s Nest.
The police say that the brother-in-law of the billionaire ANO chief created a number of fake contracts in a bid to hide the true owner of the farm, who prosecutors believe is Mr. Babiš himself.
Stork’s Nest, which previously belonged to Mr. Babiš’s Agrofert, received around CZK 50 million in EU subsidies.
The Czech economy experienced accelerated growth once again in the second
quarter of this year, according to preliminary figures published on
Wednesday by the Czech Statistics Office. Czech GDP expanded by 4.5 percent
year-on-year in the second quarter, compared to a rate of 3.0 percent in
the previous three months.
Analysts say this was the fastest tempo of growth since the end of 2015. Lower growth, of around 3.0 percent, had been expected for the April to July period. One analyst described the figures released on Wednesday as a “pleasant shock”.
A record number of 31 political parties and movements have registered take part in October’s elections to the lower house of parliament. That total is seven more than the last elections in 2013. Voters in Prague will have the biggest choice with 29 parties and groups competing. In the Karlovy Vary region the choice narrows to just 20 parties and movements.
In football, Slavia Prague have dented their chances of taking part in the group stage of the Champions League following a 0:2 defeat against APOEL Nicosia in the first leg match on Tuesday night. The Czech league champions conceded two goals in the first 10 minutes and struggled to get back in the game. A brighter performance in the second half saw Slavia hit the post. The return leg takes place next Wednesday with Slavia needing a three goal lead to go through.
Hockey goalie Marek Mazanec, 26, is returning to Europe after signing with Slovan Bratislava in the KHL. The player agreed to a one-year-deal. Four years ago the Písek native, who had helped Plzeň clinch the Extraliga title, departed for the NHL after signing with Nashville. In his first season, he played 25 games with the Predators but then got only six starts over the next three years and played mostly for the club’s farm team in the AHL. He was originally expected to continue with Nashville but opted for Slovan instead.
The Olomouc bishopric has lodged an appeal for the famous flower garden at the Kroměříz chateaux to be returned to the church. The garden, created in the 17th century and regarded as being almost unique in Europe, was not given back by the state to the church with the rest of the chateaux. The church argues that the whole complex should be seen a whole and be returned.