Archive: Domestic affairs | Politics Politics

Pundit: Citizens’ initiative calling for resignation of government indicates a new level of public frustration

19-03-2012 14:26 | Sarah Borufka

Photo: CTK Thousands of people gathered for anti-government protests following a call from the heterogeneous protest group Holešovská výzva, or Holešovská appeal. Among their main demands is the resignation of the current government – as well a new law that would introduce automatic referenda. Analysts say that the demonstrations, which last week were held not only in Prague, but also in cities across the country, could herald a new era of escalating public frustration with the government’s policies and harsh austerity measures. Political pundit Jiří Pehe speaks about the aims of the new protest movement and its significance.  More

Bárta trial adjourns after an ugly week

09-03-2012 16:50 | Christian Falvey

Vít Bárta, photo: CTK The first round of the trial of leading Public Affairs member and former transport minister Vít Bárta comes to a close on Friday. Over the course of the week no less than six past and present government ministers have taken the stand to give testimony in the biggest corruption case in recent memory, which will be adjourned on Friday while the court goes over the evidence.  More

Trade union group fears that government cuts will weaken stagnant Czech economy

06-03-2012 14:53 | Dominik Jůn

The Czech government is debating continued austerity measures, hoping to save 23 billion crowns in 2012, 42.4 billion in 2013 and a whopping 84.4 billion in 2014. But the plans have been met with opposition from trade unions, who are highlighting that the cuts could lead to as many as 24,000 public sector job losses and include layoffs of as many as 17,000 teachers as well as 3,500 police officers within the next two years. Jaroslav Zavadil, head of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions recently called this “a path to hell, which will destroy the public sector.”  More

De-facto leader of Public Affairs stands trial for corruption

05-03-2012 16:04 | Daniela Lazarová

Vít Bárta, photo: CTK The junior coalition party Public Affairs, which won seats in Parliament on a strong-anti-corruption agenda, is facing a major test of its credibility. The party’s de facto leader, former transport minister and present head of the party’s parliamentary group in the lower house Vít Bárta is standing trial on charges of corruption. The court hearings which began on Monday will hear testimony from ministers and MPs and the outcome of the much anticipated trial could shake the party in its foundations.  More

Scattered oversight: the gaping loopholes in Czech public servant conflict of interest laws

23-02-2012 15:30 | Dominik Jůn

A recent study by the pro-civic engagement charity Oživení found that of five hundred disclosure declarations lodged by Czech politicians – MPs, Senators and local officials - roughly a quarter had errors or issues worthy of further investigation. Critics suggest that the current system simply is not working and with an array of authorities across the Czech Republic tasked with examining conflict of interest declarations – some admit that they do not even have the resources to fully check what public servants have declared. In addition, there are numerous loopholes that appear to make the system highly ineffective. Dominik Jůn spoke with Vladan Brož, of Transparency International and began by asking whether he thought the current system was working.  More

Czech Parliament passes direct presidential elections

09-02-2012 16:26 | Christian Falvey

The Czech Senate, photo: CTK Czech citizens themselves will choose their next president in 2013 for the first time in history. After years of public and partisan discussion, and five final hours of heated debate on Wednesday, the Czech Senate passed a Constitutional amendment allowing direct election of the head of state by the people. As the current president, Václav Klaus, who called direct elections a "fatal mistake", is unable to veto a constitutional amendment, I asked political scientist Jan Outlý of the University of Hradec Králové if anything at all can stop direct presidential elections now.  More

Deputies get off scot-free for breach of good manners

18-01-2012 16:18 | Jan Richter

Is giving the finger to a fellow member of Parliament or calling him an idiot acceptable? It is in the Czech Republic, at least according to MPs themselves. The mandate and immunity committee of the lower house this week dismissed two such cases, saying they would only resort to punishment if the situation worsened. Radio Prague spoke to political analyst Karel Müller from Prague’s University of Economics, and asked him whether we should we come to accept such coarse behaviour.  More

Czech foreign minister says he’ll walk out if Czechs do not join EU fiscal union

12-01-2012 15:53 | Daniela Lazarová

Karel Schwarzenberg No sooner was the government dispute over church restitutions resolved, the Czech government is racked by a new crisis. The leader of TOP 09, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has made it clear that unless the Czech Republic joins the emerging European fiscal union his party would walk out of the coalition government. This latest ultimatum has brought to a head a long-simmering dispute in Czech foreign policy.  More

Public Affairs told to accept restitution deal or leave government

10-01-2012 16:20 | Christian Falvey

Cracks in the three-party governing coalition appeared again this week, as the junior Public Affairs party resisted approval of a church property restitution deal. For the senior Civic Democratic and TOP 09 parties, the deal is a major achievement that has been years in the making. When Public Affairs, which questions aspects of the agreement, attempted to put conditions on its support, the response was clear: approve the deal or leave the government.  More

Bureaucratic goof could cost country billions of crowns

28-12-2011 16:11 | Daniela Lazarová

What appears to be gross bureaucratic incompetence may cost the Czech Republic billions of crowns. The country’s belated bid to become a party in the ongoing criminal case against the former managers of the Czech mining firm Mostecká uhelná, involving billions of crowns now frozen in Swiss bank accounts - has been thrown out by a Swiss court, leaving the Czechs out in the cold.  More

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