Social Democratic Party deputy chair Roman Onderka has said Culture
Minister Antonin Staněk would be asked to explain to the party leadership
his reasons for sacking the head of the Czech National Gallery Jiří Fajt
and the head of the Olomouc Museum of Arts Michal Soukup.
Speaking in a debate on Czech Television, Onderka said that Staněk had not informed the party about this decision in advance and unless he produced a satisfactory explanation Onderka would be in favour of the minister’s dismissal.
The sacking of the head of the Prague Gallery and Olomouc Museum of Arts has raised a storm of controversy with leading Czech artists and cultural institutions sending a protest petition to the prime minister. The heads of foreign galleries have also expressed their support for the head of the Czech National Gallery.
A controversial proposal to tax money paid to religious groups in compensation for property seized under Communism is a step closer to becoming law. In their first session since the Easter holiday, MPs on Tuesday overrode a veto by the Senate to tax the restitution income of 16 Czech churches and a Jewish federation.
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.
The chairman of the opposition Civic Democrats, Petr Fiala, has accused the
ANO-led cabinet of being a government of marketing and empty words.
Speaking at a party policy conference on Saturday, Mr. Fiala also
indirectly compared ANO’s leader, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, to Baron
Munchausen, a literary character known for the comical exaggeration of his
During Saturday’s congress the Civic Democrats expelled Václav Klaus Jr. from the party. The son of the former prime minister and president had refused calls to quit the party after he compared Czech MPs approving EU directives to the decisions of the Jewish council, whose members were forced to make selections for transports to concentration camps.
The opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) have called on MP Václav Klaus, Jr.
to leave the parliamentary caucus, saying his remarks are damaging the
On Tuesday, Mr Klaus likened the transposition of European Union directives, most recently the GDPR, to the deportation of Jews imposed by the Nazis during the war.
After protests from several parties, Civic Democrat leader Petr Fiala apologised for the “unfortunate comparison”.
Mr Klaus, the son of the former Czech president, has said he will not leave the Civic Democrats voluntarily.
At their party congress this weekend, the Social Democrats re-elected Minister of Interior Jan Hamáček chairman and elevated rising political star Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček to deputy chairman. Delegates also endorsed a revised party platform, representing a shift some observers view as more radically left, other towards a mainstream European centre. Regardless, will it be enough to revive the party’s popularity?
Jan Hamáček was re-elected leader of the Social Democratic Party at a
two-day election conference in Hradec Kralové on Friday. Hamáček, who
has led the party since February 2018, ran unchallenged. The candidates for
the remaining five deputy posts include Foreign Minister Tomáš
Petříček, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová and deputy
chair of the lower house Tomáš Hanzel.
Foreign Minister Petříček, whose pro-European policy has come under fire from the Communist Party and President Miloš Zeman, said earlier that if he was not elected to a deputy post he would consider quitting as foreign minister.
Addressing the Social Democrats election conference, President Miloš Zeman
said he would give the party his vote in the upcoming European elections.
He praised the party for its decision to enter into a coalition with the ANO party rather than resorting to what he described as “a more comfortable role in the opposition”.
The president gave his full backing to party leader Jan Hamáček who, he said, had not put a foot wrong in office so far, but criticized Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, saying that his election to a deputy post would be “repeating past mistakes”.
Zeman said the party had capable politicians, but did not always make good use of their potential.
A Communist Party bill aiming to tax church restitutions hit the rocks in the Senate on Wednesday where the vast majority of senators rejected it as “unconstitutional“. The bill was rejected not just by the opposition parties but by nine senators from the ruling ANO and Social Democratic Party which helped to push it through the lower house.