Archive: Domestic affairs | Politics Politics

Miroslav Kalousek named Finance Minister of the Year for Emerging Europe 2011

26-09-2011 16:51 | Daniela Lazarová

Miroslav Kalousek, photo: CTK Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has been named “Finance Minister of the Year for Emerging Europe 2011”, an award presented by the Washington-based Emerging Markets magazine. The award, given for Mr. Kalousek’s commitment to consolidating public finances amidst a worsening global outlook, is seen as confirmation of the Czech government’s prudent fiscal policy and on picking up the award a beaming Miroslav Kalousek was quick to promise the nation “more cuts in public spending” in the year to come.  More

Cabinet adopts strategy on fighting Romany exclusion

22-09-2011 15:55 | Jan Richter

Amidst social and ethnic unrest in parts of the country caused by growing tension between the majority population and Romanies, the Czech government on Wednesday adopted a strategy to combat the social exclusion of the Romany minority. Over the next four years, the government plans to spend up to 15 billion crowns on a series of measures ranging from fighting crime to improving the education of Romany children.  More

Government approves 2012 draft budget

22-09-2011 15:55 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech coalition government on Wednesday approved the 2012 draft budget with one priority in mind – fulfilling its promise to bring the country’s public finance deficit under control. The projected deficit of 105 billion crowns fulfills that target. It would narrow the gap in public finances to 3,5 percent of the GDP, but analysts say that the latest growth predictions for the Czech economy in 2012 will almost certainly throw a spanner in the works.  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

ČEZ general director suddenly quits

15-09-2011 16:20 | Christian Falvey

Martin Roman, photo: CTK Investors, politicians and the public were taken aback on Wednesday by the news that Martin Roman, the 42-year-old general manager of power company ČEZ, was stepping down, also leaving the company’s board of directors. Mr Roman leaves his post after seven years reportedly of his own initiative, and will be taking up a position on the company’s supervisory board. Shares in ČEZ teetered slightly on Thursday with the announcement, and word that the new ČEZ chief would be second in command Daniel Beneš. Meanwhile, analysts have gone into high gear assessing what the change of management might mean for the largest public utility company in Central Europe. That was the question we put to financial journalist Chris Johnstone of Czech Position.  More

Future of massive clean-up tender uncertain

14-09-2011 15:34 | Jan Richter

The future of the Czech Republic’s largest public tender is uncertain after the Finance Ministry revealed that three firms had bid between 57 and 65 billion crowns to remove environmental damage inherited from the communist regime. Prime Minster Petr Nečas, as well as several other cabinet ministers are increasingly receptive to arguments by the project’s critics who warned the tender might become the country’s “largest single corrupt deal”.  More

BIS slams justice officials for corruption and criminality

08-09-2011 15:45 | Christian Falvey

The civilian intelligence agency, BIS, has issued a scathing report on malpractice and criminal activity within the Czech justice system. The agency’s annual report accuses judges and state prosecutors of a litany of shortcomings from sluggishness to connections to organised crime. On Thursday the Czech judges’ association went on the offence, comparing the allegations to a baseless tabloid report.  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

Government approves proposed tax reform

25-08-2011 16:21 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech government on Wednesday approved a package of tax reform measures intended to simplify the tax system and shift taxation from direct to indirect taxes. The planned reform should abolish the so-called “super-gross salary”, levy a new 20 percent tax on gambling and remove tax breaks on some employees’ benefits such as lunch vouchers. Radio Prague asked economist David Marek about the most significant changes introduced and their overall impact.  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

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