The new Czech government say they aim to simplify the country’s tax
system as well as turning it electronic. In a 32-page draft policy
programme rubber-stamped on Monday by the ANO government headed by Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš, they also say they will create rules intended to
produce predictable growth in the minimum wage.
Mr. Babiš’s cabinet also say they will work to reduce the risk of terrorism and pursue a clear foreign policy aimed at promoting the Czech national interests.
The prime minister told reporters that his party had sent the document to the heads of the other parties in the Chamber of Deputies ahead of a round of talks in which ANO hope to acquire backing for their government.
Czech bookmakers have shortened their odds on the incumbent Miloš Zeman
winning presidential elections in January. While two weeks ago the odds on
a victory for the current head of state were 1.8 to 1, they have now fallen
to 1.62 to 1.
By contrast, the odds have lengthened slightly on scientist Jiří Drahoš, who polls suggest has the second highest support after Mr. Zeman. Whereas the bookies were giving a price of 2.8 to 1 on Mr. Drahoš they are now offering 2.9 to 1.
A total of CZK 50 million had been staked on the outcome at the start of December, which is the same amount that was bet on the entire 2013 presidential election.
All of the ministers in Andrej Babiš’s ANO minority government have now
taken the reigns at their departments. On Monday morning Mr. Babiš did the
rounds, accompanying Robert Plaga to the Ministry of Education, Ilja Šmíd
to the Ministry of Culture, Jiří Milek to the Ministry of Agriculture and
Klára Dostálová to the Ministry of Regional Development.
Once Mr. Babiš’s ministers have approved their own policy programme they will begin fresh efforts to win support for their minority government. On Tuesday ANO will speak to Christian Democrats’ chairman Pavel Bělobrádek.
The Social Democrats, the Mayors and Independents and the Czech Pirate Party have also confirmed that they will hold talks with representatives of the Babiš government in the coming days.
A 71-year-old woman who was shot dead in Jihlava on Friday was evidently
killed by her former husband, the Czech News Agency reported. The police
said the husband had then killed himself. They said the shooting was
apparently connected to a business dispute between the pair.
The woman was shot four times after stopping her car at a crossroads by the male driver of another vehicle that pulled up beside her. The man, who was 64, is believed to have then used his gun to take his own life; his body was found near Chrudim in East Bohemia on Saturday. Police are still investigating the case.
Supporters of Václav Havel took part in a march in remembrance of the late
Czech president on Sunday evening, a day before the sixth anniversary of
his death. Around 200 people took part in the event which involved a walk
up to Prague Castle and was intended to highlight the
Participants carried a large love heart, a symbol with which Havel, who died on 18 December 2011, was associated.
Václav Havel led the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and served as Czechoslovak and then Czech president for 13 years.
The Czech state has allocated CZK 400 million in subsidies to companies in
the food industry this year, the newspaper Hospodářské noviny reported
on Monday. Over a quarter of that funding went to Agrofert, which is owned
by former finance minister and recently appointed prime minister Andrej
Babiš of ANO. Agrofert, which is the biggest player on the Czech
agriculture and foodstuffs markets, is the single company that has gained
the most in state subsidies in 2017.
Earlier this year Mr. Babiš placed his shares in Agrofert and the company SynBiol into a trust fund because of the law on conflict of interest. In 2014, the year the ANO chief entered government, 20 percent of the relevant subsidies went to Agrofert.
Two police officers arrested last week by the General Inspectorate of the
Security Services are suspected of unauthorised phone tapping, Czech Radio
reported on Monday, referring to the charges against them. Eight other
people were also detained last week on suspicion of attempting to influence
The two officers are accused of receiving information on phone numbers from a manager at mobile operator Vodafone without obtaining permission from a judge. The pair deny any wrongdoing and a spokesperson for Vodafone said the company was unaware of any such leak.
In ice hockey, the Czech team beat Sweden in their last match of the
Channel One Cup staged in Moscow on Sunday.
The Czechs won 4:1 and secured second place in the tournament. It was won by hosts, Russia. They won all three games in the tournament for the first time since 2013. Wins against Finland and Canada preceded the victory against Sweden.
Former Social Democrat member of the lower house Jeroným Tejc stands to be
one of the deputy ministers of ANO justice minister Robert Pelikan,
according to the news server Lidovky.cz.
Tejc announced at the end of November he was quitting the Social Democrats, complaining that none of the party leadership was taking responsibility for the debacle in October’s parliamentary elections. The Social Democrats lost around two-third of their voters.
Tejc was at one time was head of the parliamentary grouping of the party but quit in 2013 after moves to overthrow the then party leader, Bohuslav Sobotka