Archive: Domestic affairs | Political parties Political parties

Conservative figure Bátora quits Education Ministry post

14-10-2011 15:58 | Jan Richter

Ladislav Bátora, photo: CTK Controversial activist Ladislav Bátora has announced he is leaving his post at the Education Ministry. Earlier this year, his stint at the ministry became a source of upheaval on the Czech political scene but Mr Bátora was allowed to remain at the ministry in return for a promise he would stay away from politics. But on Friday, Ladislav Bátora said he was no longer willing to keep that promise and wanted to be actively engaged in public life. Commentator Jiří Pehe thinks he is leaving after his goal – getting public attention – was fulfilled.  More

Analyst: new leftist political party could weaken Social Democrats

11-10-2011 16:10 | Jan Velinger

Jiří Paroubek, photo: CTK At one time Jiří Paroubek was one of the most influential politicians in the country, both as prime minister and as leader of the Social Democratic Party: but a poorer result than expected in the 2010 national election spelt his end in the party’s top leadership. Now, the former Social Democrat is moving to found a new party on the political Left, which could provide voters with a new alternative. Earlier I discussed the project with political analyst Vladimíra Dvořáková, who talked about the former party leader’s possible motivation – as well as whether the new project can be a success.  More

Nečas ally appointed Agriculture Minister

06-10-2011 15:53 | Christian Falvey

Petr Bendl, Václav Klaus, photo: CTK The post of agriculture minister was filled this week as abruptly as it was vacated with Thursday’s appointment of Civic Democrat Petr Bendl. A close ally of the prime minister, Mr Bendl is an experienced hand in regional and ministerial leadership, but his ties to agriculture are non-existent.  More

Observers sceptical “announced” Roma political party will gain traction

04-10-2011 16:20 | Jan Velinger

Illustrative photo Reports surfaced on Tuesday that a number of representatives of the Czech Roma community are considering founding a new party focussing on Roma issues, including how to tackle long-standing social problems and ethnic tension between communities. Those have grown especially in North Bohemia in recent weeks. While some, like notable sociologist Ivan Gabal have praised the project so far – he told a national Czech newspaper such a party could “change the atmosphere in Czech politics and improve the social climate”, many others are sceptical, saying like parties before it, this one too is unlikely to succeed.  More

Minister Schwarzenberg accuses power giant ČEZ of secretly funding political parties

30-09-2011 17:03 | Jan Richter

Karel Schwarzenberg, photo: archive of the Czech Government Foreign Minister, and coalition TOP 09 party leader Karel Schwarzenberg has accused the state-controlled electricity firm ČEZ of bankrolling Czech political parties. In an interview for the news-website this week, Mr Schwarzenberg said it was “a public secret” that ČEZ had financed parties – except his own group, TOP 09. The serious accusations – presented with no evidence or further details – were dismissed by politicians across the board – with the notable exception of František Bublan, a Social Democrat MP, and former Interior Minister and head of the Czech intelligence service. But commentator Erik Best believes Mr Schwarzenberg might have had his very own reasons for speaking out.  More

Direct presidential election passed for further debate in lower house

21-09-2011 15:23 | Christian Falvey

A government proposal seeking direct, popular election of the Czech president made it through the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday – a significant success for an idea that lawmakers have dealt with eight times already. Nevertheless, while the coalition and the opposition may have reached a rare consensus for the time being, any such change to the constitution remains fraught by the fact that each party envisions very different conditions for popular elections, and many pundits and political scientists see the popular issue as a non-starter. Professor Jiří Pehe of New York University, for one, tells me the prospect of direct presidential elections is science fiction. I asked him why.  More

Latest government crisis leaves commentators baffled

30-08-2011 | Daniela Lazarová

Ladislav Bátora, poto: CTK A drawn-out government crisis over the controversial head of human resources at the Czech Education Ministry has been resolved in a most surprising way. Ladislav Bátora, the figure at the centre of the dispute, who came under fire for his past links to the extreme Nationalist Party and for insulting the foreign minister online, has not been sacked but is to be relocated to the less visible but technically higher position of vice-chancellor to the education minister. TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg, who was insulted by the civil servant in question has thanked Education Minister Josef Dobeš for his accommodating approach in the matter, explained that his party’s firm stand was a matter of principle in combating extremism and promised that the party’s ministers would no longer boycott cabinet meetings. After two weeks of muscle-flexing over the fate of a civil servant the government crisis is ostensibly over – but it has left many people wondering what exactly the dispute was all about. Radio Prague asked political analyst Petr Just for his take on one of the most bizarre crises in Czech politics.  More

Analyst: “Bátora affair” just pretext for government crisis

24-08-2011 15:46 | Jan Velinger

Ladislav Bátora, photo: CTK Ministers from the TOP 09 party made good on their promise on Wednesday and boycotted a cabinet meeting in protest of the continued presence of the controversial, highly-placed civil servant Ladislav Bátora at the Education Ministry. The party has slammed the official for past ties to the extremist National Party and for insults recently aimed at its leader, Karel Schwarzenberg, indicating things won’t return to normal until Mr Bátora is replaced. Some, however, argue that Mr Bátora is not the real issue at all, and that the scandal is being exploited by TOP 09 for its own political ends.  More

Czech parties struggle to find roles for former leaders

04-08-2011 16:18 | Jan Richter

The former leader of the Czech Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek has announced plans to leave the party and establish a new political group. Should his intentions materialize, he would be the second Social Democrat leader to do so, after Miloš Zeman whose own political project caused significant harm to the Social Democrats in the last general elections. But in Czech politics, problems with former party leaders are not unusual.  More

Right-wing parties willing to introduce some form of progressive taxation

22-07-2011 14:04 | Daniela Lazarová

Although on Wednesday the cabinet approved a draft budget for 2012 envisaging a deficit of 105 billion crowns, the right wing parties have not given up pushing for an alternative proposal which would enable a more drastic reduction of the public finance deficit to 95 billion crowns. In order to give the latter proposal, envisaging a unified 19 percent VAT rate, a new lease on life TOP 09 and the Civic Democratic Party have said they are willing to consider the junior party Public Affairs’ demand for progressive taxation – albeit indirectly and for a limited period of time. Radio Prague asked Raiffeisen bank’s chief economist and former finance minister Pavel Mertlík what he thinks is behind the unexpected U-turn.  More



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