The Supreme Court has ruled that three former Civic Democratic Party MPs – Petr Tluchoř, Marek Šnajdr, and Ivan Fuksa – cannot be prosecuted for alleged corruption, saying parliamentary immunity covered actions outside the lower house. The three are suspected of receiving bribes in the form of lucrative posts in state companies in return for having allowed the former government to survive. The decision follows a similar ruling by the court earlier this year. In its ruling, the Supreme Court turned down a proposal by state prosecutor Ivo Ištvan who had tried to push ahead with criminal proceedings against the three. By contrast, the Supreme Court ruled that the former prime minister, Petr Nečas, could still be charged.
Social Democrat chairman Bohuslav Sobotka will lead the talks on forming a
new Czech government for the time being, as the party had not yet agreed
on a new negotiating team, Mr Sobotka and deputy chairman Milan Chovanec
reporters on Thursday. Only the party’s central executive committee, due
to meet on November 10, will be able to approve the final team, they said.
The party leader also apologised to voters for developments since last
Saturday’s election, when 20 members called on Mr Sobotka to resign over
a weaker-than-expected election result.
Above all, Mr Sobotka stressed the party would move quickly to resolve a current split, not wanting to complicate party talks. The Social Democrats are to lead negotiations primarily with two other parties, ANO and the Christian Democrats. Together they could form a coalition commanding a comfortable majority of 111 in the 200-seat lower house.
Halloween has continued to gain in popularity among Czech pre-schoolers and schoolchildren, according to Czech Radio. Increasingly, various towns, nursery schools, as well as private venues hold events; this year, zoos and botanical gardens are among those to have prepared special programmes for children including pumpkin carving, lantern processions and masquerade balls, Czech Radio said.
An Austrian national of Czech descent, Philipp Janýr, filed charges of treason and sabotage on Thursday against President Miloš Zeman, the president’s chancellor Vratislav Mynář, Social Democrat deputy leader Michal Hašek and others. The charges were filed with the High State Attorney’s Office in Prague and in Olomouc. Mr Janýr is alleging that the group, through its actions, had attempted to push foreign interests represented by the Russian firms Lukoil and Rusatom by legally or illegally increasing influence within the executive and legislative branches. Mr Janýr suggested the state administration had been infiltrated by organised crime and foreign interests.
ANO 2011 and the Christian Democrats released a joint- statement on Thursday saying that either they would enter a new government together or not at all. After their meeting, representatives from both also said that they shared many programme priorities; ANO’s Věra Jourová confirmed they shared common ground on around 80 percent. ANO 2011 and the Christian Democrats (who are returning to the lower house after a 3.5 year absence following last week’s elections), are waiting for the election winners the Social Democrats to establish a new negotiating team. They have, however, already met with party leader Bohuslav Sobotka, who survived calls from within his own party at the weekend to step down. ANO and the Christian Democrats have made clear there are three possible options moving forward: entering a coalition with the Social Democrats which would give them a 111-seat majority, staying in the opposition, or backing a minority Social Democrat government.
After half-a-year’s absence 32 year-old Czech forward Martin Havlát returned to the ice on Wednesday for the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks lost 4-3 in overtime to the L.A. Kings but lead in the NHL. Havlat’s return was welcomed by the team captain; at the club another Czech player, 19 year-old Tomáš Hetrl, has so far had an excellent season, not long ago scoring four goals in a single game, one of them a sensational between-the-legs shot that beat New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, spent Wednesday night in hospital
because of a knee injury. The head of a team of doctors looking after Mr
Zeman, Health Minister Martin Holcát, said that following an accident,
blood had swelled in the president’s knee and required neurological
tests. Those have since confirmed that Mr Zeman will have to use a
wheelchair and rest up for several weeks. Consequently, he was advised to
cancel planned foreign trips. On Thursday, Mr Zeman was released from
hospital care and
for the presidential chateau in Lány.
Regarding the cause of the accident, the health minister explained that the president had stumbled in the dark at night while heading for the bathroom; he said alcohol had not been a factor, which lab tests had confirmed. Mr Zeman is a heavy smoker who suffers from diabetes; doctors needed to take steps to minimalise potential threats, such as thrombosis or lung embolism.
Social Democratic Party deputy leader Michal Hašek, who admitted to lying
publicly this week about a secret post-election with President Miloš
Zeman, made clear on Wednesday he would not step down. He and other senior
Social Democrats Zdeněk Škromach, Jeroným Tejc and Jiří Zimola all
with the president at a secret meeting last weekend; Mr Hašek had
maintained such a meeting never took place.
Following Wednesday’s admission, the party’s chairman Bohuslav Sobotka said that either he or Mr Hašek would have to go and said a meeting of the party’s executive committee (set for November 10) would resolve the matter. Mr Hašek, in reaction, compared developments within the Social Democratic Party to a “witch hunt”. On Thursday, he himself apologised and said he would weigh possible steps on November 10.
The mayor of Prague, Tomáš Hudeček, and other councilors who are being investigated in connection with the overpriced Opencard electronic card system will not resign even if they appear in court. A representative of the mayor’s party, TOP 09, made the statement on Wednesday. Mr. Hudeček says that the police have made mistakes in their investigation of the matter. He had previously that he would quit if charges were pressed. Along with nine other current and former Civic Democrat and TOP 09 councilors, he is accused of breach of trust and breach of competition regulations. The Opencard is used for public transport and other services.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
Restaurant tells visitors to “clear their plates” or pay a 50 crown fine for wasting food
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’