Senate voices reservations to conflict of interest bill

The Senate has returned a conflict of interest bill to the lower house with a proposal that it should come into force as of September 2017 rather than the beginning of the year. The proposed change is based on the argument that the authorities will need more time to prepare a register of income and property declarations. The bill, which caused friction in the ruling coalition, would prevent people with large stakes in companies from becoming ministers, while firms more than 10-percent owned by cabinet members would not be allowed to enter public tenders. It is widely seen as targeting ANO leader, billionaire businessman and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš whose powerful conglomerate Agrofert involves 200 companies as well as several media outlets.