Topic Archive Domestic affairs

Leading economist on austerity package: public sector still squandering money

29-02-2012 17:12 | Daniela Lazarová

The Finance Minister’s austerity plan for 2013, which includes far-reaching measures to increase state revenues and cut public spending, has raised an outcry from the opposition benches with the leader of the opposition Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka saying his party would table a vote of no-confidence in the three-party centre-right coalition.  More

Students continue protests over university reform proposals

28-02-2012 14:04 | Dominik Jůn

Photo: CTK The student protests that formed a key component of the 1989 Velvet Revolution serve as a stark reminder, even more than twenty years later, that the imagery of any Czech government upsetting its student population is going to create a major headache. Recent reforms proposed by the Czech Education Ministry under Josef Dobeš have achieved just that. Students are crying foul, with banners draped in universities across the country accusing the government of putting profits before education. This week, many Czech students have taken matters a step further with a self-titled “Week of protests” against the legislation. Tuesday sees students attending countless workshops and debates while protests marching on the offices of the Czech government are scheduled for Wednesday. Dominik Jůn spoke to Charles University student Matouš Turek, one of organizers of the protests, and began by asking Turek to explain the background behind the controversial legislation:  More

Pundit: battle over control of High State Attorney’s Office in Prague decisive for country’s democratic development

23-02-2012 15:30 | Daniela Lazarová

Jiří Pehe The battle over who should head the High State Attorney’s Office in Prague and the implications of the return of the office’s old-new head Vlastimil Rampula are very much at the centre of media attention. Radio Prague asked commentator Jiří Pehe for his interpretation of the affair.  More

Change of guard at High State Attorney’s Office in Prague in drawn-out battle for control of decisive post

23-02-2012 15:30 | Daniela Lazarová

Vlastimil Rampula, photo: CTK The change of guard at the High State Attorney’s Office in Prague has sent reverberations across the political spectrum and has raised concerns regarding the independence of the Czech judiciary. Vlastimil Rampula, Prague Chief Prosecutor who was sacked last July on suspicion that he had been holding up key corruption investigations returned in triumph on Wednesday to reclaim his post after the Prague Municipal Court ruled that his dismissal was not sufficiently justified.  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

Government moves to give crime victims more support and greater protection

16-02-2012 15:29 | Daniela Lazarová

Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil Being a crime victim can be a shattering experience and many who have personally experienced it say that reporting the incident and the investigation that follows can be equally agonizing. At the present time there is no code of conduct specifying how the police or state attorneys should treat crime victims and critics say their conduct often leaves much to be desired. The Czech government has now moved to correct that approving an amendment to the law which would give crime victims more support and greater protection.  More

EU human rights court rules Czech state denied Kinský fair trial in property restitution case

10-02-2012 15:41 | Jan Richter

František Oldřich Kinský, photo: CTK The European Court of Human Rights denounced the Czech state for having denied a fair trial to František Oldřich Kinský, an Austrian aristocrat who sued the country over his property claims. The court said that Mr Kinský, who passed away nearly three years ago, had been subjected to abusive treatment by the Czech authorities when he sued to get back family property worth around 40 billion crowns.  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

MPs complete legislation aimed at legalizing cannabis for medical purposes

03-02-2012 14:43 | Jan Velinger

A group of Czech MPs from all of the parties in the Chamber of Deputies has completed legislation which could legalise the use of cannabis in the Czech Republic for medical purposes. Currently, thousands of sufferers from debilitating diseases such as Parkinson’s, Lyme borreliosis and multiple sclerosis, have been forced to break the law to obtain marijuana to help ease their pain, a situation which could soon change if the bill passes in the lower house. According to reports, the medical use of cannabis in the Czech Republic could be legal within the year.  More

Czechs keep their options open in Brussels

30-01-2012 15:53 | Daniela Lazarová

Petr Nečas, photo: CTK After much controversy at home on whether the Czech Republic should join the euro-zone’s emerging fiscal compact, the Czech government delegation headed for Monday’s key EU summit in Brussels determined to keep its options open. In the midst of continuing discord on the subject, there is just one thing Czech politicians heartily agree on – they want to have a finger in the pie.  More

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