Archive: Domestic affairs | Politics Politics

Embattled former mayor suspends party membership

27-03-2012 15:32 | Jan Velinger

Pavel Bém, photo: Tomáš Adamec Former Prague mayor and MP Pavel Bém, of the Civic Democratic Party, has heeded calls from fellow members to suspend his party membership. In a written statement issued on Monday evening, Mr Bém confirmed he would take the step in the wake of the on-going “lobbying scandal” that has raised serious questions about his tenure.  More

Controversial Prague lobbyist charged with bodily harm; may face further charges connected to wire tap scandal

26-03-2012 15:28 | Sarah Borufka

Roman Janoušek, photo: TV Nova Prague police have charged the controversial lobbyist Roman Janoušek with menacing behaviour due to intoxication as well as grievous bodily harm. On Friday, Mr Janoušek crashed his Porsche into another car in Prague 4, then hit its driver as he attempted to flee. The news came as the construction tycoon already found himself in the headlines due to scandal over leaked wire taps of conversations between him and former mayor of Prague Pavel Bém.  More

Education Minister Josef Dobeš resigns “over budget cuts”

22-03-2012 15:15 | Jan Richter

Josef Dobeš The embattled Czech education minister, Josef Dobeš, has announced he will step down. Mr Dobeš, who has come under severe pressure over a number of issues including EU funds and his planned university reform, cited further austerity measures as the reason. But observers point out that the minister just seized the opportunity to resign before he would be forced out of office.  More

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

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