Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's new team of commissioners was confirmed in office by a vote of the European Parliament on Wednesday. The EC’s first female president promised a transformation that would touch “every part of the EU’s society and economy”, with the fight against climate change at the top of her list.
The ANO party rose slightly in the polls in September and would receive 31
percent of the vote according to a September MEDIAN agency poll released on
Monday. At 13.5 percent the Pirates retain their position as the second
strongest party the Median survey shows, despite receiving 0.5 percent less
than in August. They are closely trailed by the Civic Democrats at 12.5
percent, whose preferences have gone down by 1 percent compared to August.
The anti-migrant Freedom and Direct Democracy party would receive 7.5 percent of the vote followed by the Social Democrats who are polling at 7 percent. The bottom three parties that are polling above the minimum level needed to enter the chamber of deputies are the Communist Party at 6.5 percent, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents who would both receive 5.5 percent according to the poll, meaning that all of the parties currently in the lower house would retain their representation.
After a debate that took up most of the day, the constitutional complaint
against President Miloš Zeman did not pass through the Chamber of Deputies
on Thursday, receiving only 58 votes and therefore missing the required
mark of 120 by a wide margin. MPs from the Pirate party, the Civic
Democrats, TOP09 and the Christian Democrats voted in favour of the motion,
while the ANO party, the Social Democrats, the Communist Party and the
Freedom and Direct Democracy party either voted against the complaint or
The complaint sought to bring the matter to the Constitutional Court which, after examining the case, could rule that the president acted in “blunt breach of the Constitution”. It narrowly passed through the Senate in July, but was not expected to pass through the lower house due to the fact that the ruling coalition together with the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party stated that they would not support it.
The vote was preceded by long discussions, which included heated exchanges between the representatives of the opposition parties in favour of the complaint and those supporting the president. Senator Václav Láska, who authored the complaint, said that President Miloš Zeman is intent on making the government responsible to him rather than the Chamber of Deputies and that this was the central motive that connected all of the points raised against his behaviour in the complaint.
The chairman of the ANO party's deputies' club, Jaroslav Faltýnek, accused Mr. Láska of holding hateful feelings towards the president, while Social Democrat deputy, Kateřina Valachová, said that the complaint contained too many points and would have had a greater chance if it focused purely on the president's actions regarding the appointment of ministers.
President Zeman says he did not violate the constitution.
Three Czech MEPs are among the newly elected chairs and vice-chairs of the
European Parliament’s 22 committees and subcommittees for the next two
and a half years.
Luděk Niedermayer of the conservative TOP 09 party has been elected first
vice-chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. His colleague
from the Civic Democratic Party Jan Zahradil has become first vice-chair of
the Committee on International Trade, and Martina Dlabajová of the ANO
party will take the post of vice-chair of the Committee on Budgetary
Last week, two Czech MEPs, Dita Charanzová of the ANO party and Marcel Kolaja of the Pirate Party, were elected vice-presidents of the European Parliament.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has hailed the EU compromise on nominations for the bloc’s top jobs as a big success for the Visegrad Four grouping which fiercely opposed the system of Spitzen candidates and particularly the candidacy of Frans Timmermans for EC president. But, while the prime minister is cheering, there have been mixed reactions from Czech MEPs, some of whom have criticized the fact that the deal reached does not reflect the outcome of elections to the European Parliament.
The head of the opposition Civic Democratic Party Petr Fiala has urged
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to ask the lower house for a vote of
confidence in his minority government.
Mr. Fiala said that in view of the preliminary EU audit which claims the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest it is essential to know whether the Babis government still has confidence and if so which parties support it.
The opposition centre right parties in the lower house have called for the EU audit to be discussed in a special session of the lower house, the immediate suspension of all further subsidies to Agrofert companies, for the Czech response to the European Commission’s audit to be drafted by government ministers who are not in the prime minister’s ANO party and for the audit to be made public.
Civic Democratic Party leader Petr Fiala has condemned as “absolutely
unacceptable” a vicious verbal attack against President Zeman and a call
for his elimination by a regional member of the party.
The attack on Facebook was made in reaction to the president‘s support for a law taxing church restitutions.
Fiala said he expected the regional party branch to distance itself from the statement and take steps to ensure there was no repetition of the incident.
The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said the Office of the President has contacted the police about the matter.
The Civic Democrats have come out with a new amendment to Czech driving legislation, which would allow drivers to have up to two lagers before taking the wheel. They hope to table the proposal at the next session of the Chamber of Deputies, but there appears to be scant support for the idea in the lower house.
Former president Václav Klaus says that if the Civic Democrats had
expelled his son, Václav Klaus Jr., a few weeks sooner, the two would have
had time to found a party under which the latter could have stood in
elections to the European Parliament in May. He made the comment in an
interview for the newspaper Blesk published three days after Václav Klaus
Jr. had his membership of the Civic Democrats revoked.
Mr. Klaus also said that the Civic Democrats should change their name as, he argued, they bear no resemblance today to the party he founded in the 1990s.