The first deputy chairman of the Christian Democrats, Marian Jurečka, has
blamed the party’s unimpressive showing in the general elections on their
abandonment of a deal to run together with the Mayors and Independents and
“poor communication”. Mr. Jurečka made the comments in an interview on
the SeznamZpravy.cz news site.
Mr. Jurečka also said that controversial comments by Christian Democrats chairman Pavel Bělobrádek on social media had cost them dearly. The party won 10 seats in the lower house for 5.8 percent of the vote.
Election winners ANO have ruled out speaking to representatives of the
Mayors and Independents Group or TOP 09 in a second round of talks on
forming a new government, the party’s leader, Andrej Babiš, told Czech
Television on Wednesday evening. The ANO chief said the two groupings had a
minimum number of deputies in the lower house and what’s more behaved in
a hostile manner toward his party.
Mr. Babiš said he would like his new government when it is formed to win a confidence vote in the lower house before Christmas. His party received almost 30 percent of the vote in last weekend’s elections and are currently sounding out other groupings on a possible coalition.
The centrist ANO party of billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš have scored
a resounding success in the Czech general elections, taking 29.6 percent of
the vote and coming first in all the country’s constituencies. The result
is considerably higher than the 18.65 percent the grouping received in the
last elections four years ago and leaves ANO on 78 seats.
Also enjoying major success have been the Czech Pirate Party, who were not in the previous lower house but came in on 10.8 percent. The other big winners were another newcomer to the Chamber of Deputies, the anti-migrant Freedom and Direct Democracy party led by Tomio Okamura, who got 10.6 percent.
The traditional main right-wing party the Civic Democrats enjoyed a resurrection after some fallow years, climbing from 7.7 percent in 2013 to 11.3 percent this time out. The Communists, who took 14.9 percent in 2013, saw a falloff in support, picking up 7.8 percent.
The major losers on a dramatic day for Czech politics were the leaders of the outgoing government the Social Democrats, who saw their support nosedive from 20.45 percent in 2013 to 7.3 percent.
The Christian Democrats saw a slight decline, taking 5.8 percent, compared to 6.8 last time out. TOP 09 and the Mayors group reached the five-percent threshold for entrance to the lower house by the skin of their teeth, with 5.3 and 5.2 percent respectively. Turnout was 60.8 percent, a very slight rise on the figure for 2013.
Andrej Babš’ ANO party is maintaining a strong lead over its political rivals, according to a survey conducted by the TNS agency. According to the outcome, ANO would now win general elections with 33.5 percent of the vote, followed by the centre-right Civic Democrats with 11 percent and the Communist Party with 10.5 percent. The Social Democrats would come fourth with 10 percent of the vote. TOP 09 and Tomio Okamura’s SPD would get 7.5 percent each. The alliance of Christian Democrats and Mayors would only get 7.5 percent together and would thereby fail to win seats in the lower house for which they would need 10 percent support as a coalition.
The governor of the South Bohemia Region, Jiří Zimola of the Social Democrats, has officially resigned from his post. Mr. Zimola announced his move earlier this month in the wake of the collapse of a regional government coalition comprised of the Social Democrats and two other parties. His resignation was the condition for the Social Democrats to negotiate a new coalition. Zimola, who has been governor for nearly nine years, will be replaced in the post by his deputy Ivana Stráská. Zimola has been blemished by criticism over the earnings of top hospital managers and revelations about some of his property deals.
The Czech tourism sector has something to celebrate following the announcement last week of record incoming visitors for 2016. But all is not rosy in the sector with some arguing that more could be done to promote tourism and others saying that established businesses playing by the rules are being undermined by those, especially in the so-called new economy, who are flouting them and undermining fair competition.
The Christian Democrats’ Jiří Čunek has resigned as mayor of Vsetín and as a member of the local council. Mr. Čunek, who is also a senator, had promised to quit after being elected governor of the Zlín region in November. He has not ruled out running for the leadership of the Christian Democrats in May. A former chairman of the party, he came to national attention for his treatment of Romanies, with critics said was discriminatory. He later became involved in a number of scandals and was forced to step down as regional development minister.
Czech MEPs say they will strive to soften a proposed amendment to the EU firearms directive which aims to tighten controls on the legal acquisition and possession of firearms. One cannot fight against the threat of terrorism by banning legally held weapons, MEPs Jiří Pospíšil and Stanislav Polčák told reporters in Prague on Monday. On the other hand they criticized the recent proposal of Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec for Parliament to pass a constitutional amendment which would allow persons with legally held weapons to use them against terrorists. Mr. Pospíšil, a former Czech justice minister, said it would be ideal to find a sensible compromise, and that Czech MEPs would present a proposal at the March session of the European Parliament.
The Czech Republic failed to effectively take advantage of opportunities to pump European funds last year, according to the Minister for Regional Development Karla Šlechtová. The minister described last year’s results as poor, adding that part of the problem was with fund management bodies and also the fact that firms and individuals preferred to turn to national funds rather than EU cash because the procedures were simpler. Last year agreements covering around 10 billion crowns were signed with 14.2 percent of the maximum total for the 2014-2020 of 648 billion crowns now claimed. This year, the minister said around five times more EU cash, or around 53 billion crowns, should be claimed.
Bohumil Šimek of the ANO party has become the new governor of the South Moravian region. Mr. Šimek was elected by councillors in a secret ballot on Wednesday. He will replace Social Democrat Michal Hašek, who served two terms in the post. The South Moravian region will be governed by a coalition of the winning ANO party with Social Democrats, TOP 09, Žít Brno and Mayors for South Moravia.
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