Topic Archive Domestic affairs

Public Affairs: new education minister will need manoeuvring room in face of difficult tasks

29-03-2012 16:21 | Jan Velinger

Josef Dobeš, photo: CTK Finding a successor to outgoing Education Minister Josef Dobeš, who resigned over planned budget cuts at the ministry, is seeing delays and most definitely will not be sorted by the end of the month. The Public Affairs party, headed by Radek John, wants assurances that Dobeš’ successor won’t be without options – arguing that extra funds should be found so that teacher salaries are untouched. By contrast, others within the centre-right coalition charge there is plenty of room within the Education Ministry to save; in their view, slashing teachers’ salaries should be far from necessary.  More

Czech government pays lip service to referendum calls

28-03-2012 15:49 | Jan Richter

The Czech government on Wednesday approved a bill on automatic referenda, something the public as well as politicians from across the board have been calling for for years. Under the draft legislation, it would take 250,000 signatures and an approval by the country’s Parliament to call a plebiscite. But critics say the bill is so restrictive that it makes it nearly impossible to launch the process, and that it stand very small chances of being approved by the legislature.  More

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

Fresh wiretap scandal shows lobbyist’s influence over Prague City Hall

23-03-2012 16:02 | Jan Richter

Pavel Bém, photo: Tomáš Adamec A new scandal has thrown more light on how deals were made at Prague City Hall, which has frequently come under fire for corrupt practices and cronyism. Leaked phone wiretaps, recorded by the Czech secret service, show how former Prague mayor Pavel Bém’s decisions were supervised by a powerful lobbyist. The police have now launched an investigation into both the contents of the recordings, and how they were leaked.  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

End of an era for Czech Constitutional Court?

21-03-2012 16:52 | Jan Richter

Eliška Wagnerová, photo: CTK The vice-president of the Czech Constitutional Court, and one of its most distinct judges, Eliška Wagnerová retired on Tuesday as her ten-year term expired. Dubbed the Queen of Dissent, Justice Wagnerová left a deep mark on the top Czech court. She was behind some of the court’s crucial rulings, including that on the EU’s Lisbon treaty, and unwaveringly stood up to political pressure. Radio Prague asked Prof. Jiří Přibáň from Cardiff Law School whether her departure marks the end of an era for the highest court in the land.  More

Police warn investigations will suffer if next year’s budget cuts go through

20-03-2012 14:39 | Christian Falvey

The police have warned of tremendous impacts if the government’s wide-ranging budget cuts go ahead. The current plan calls for a cutting a four billion crown slice from the police budget in 2013 and an additional two and a half billion the year after that. According to an internal police risk assessment reported on this week by the daily Právo, those cuts in practical terms will mean closing a quarter of the country’s police stations and laying off a corresponding amount of the force, some 10,000 police officers. The report warns that that would leave the police unable to properly fulfil one of their main tasks – investigations.  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

New slat armour to be used on additional Czech military vehicles in Afghanistan

16-03-2012 15:33 | Jan Velinger

Photo: Czech Television Additional transport vehicles used by the Czech military in Afghanistan are to receive added protection developed by defence firm VOP-026 Šternberk: cage (or slat) armour capable of defending against rocket-propelled grenades or shape-charged warheads. Lightweight and made of superior alloy steel, the slat armour can consistently save lives in attacks that otherwise almost certainly prove fatal.  More

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