The Social Democrats’ Miroslav Poche says if he does not become foreign
minister he could serve in another role at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Czech Television reported on Saturday. The MEP is his party’s choice for
that portfolio in a minority coalition taking shape with ANO. However, his
appointment is opposed by President Miloš Zeman and ANO Andrej Babiš.
Mr. Poche described a possible scenario under which Social Democrats chairman Jan Hamáček would temporarily take on foreign affairs as a second portfolio and he himself would serve in a different role at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as “plan B”.
However, both he and Mr. Hamáček are still insisting that Mr. Poche head the ministry, he said.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, has responded to French comments
regarding the Visegrad Four and an informal EU meeting on migration planned
for Sunday. French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said the fact
that the V4 countries – which include the Czech Republic – were
boycotting the mini-summit on Sunday would make it harder to find a
Europe-wide deal on migration at a major summit of the EU 28 at the end of
Mr. Babiš described Mr. Griveaux’s words as “unfortunate”. He said the V4 were not boycotting anything but were just not attending Sunday’s mini-summit, which he said had been called in a most irregular manner.
On Thursday morning the Czech PM said he was going to Sunday's meeting. However, after V4 and Austria talks later that day he said none of the Visegrad states would be represented there.
The Czech National Archive has taken possession of recently discovered film
and audio recordings of the 1950s show trial of Rudolf Slánský and
others. Since being found the materials had been looked after by the
National Film Archive. The NFA comes under the Ministry of Culture, which
had promised to apply for government funding for their care.
A spokesperson for the National Archive (which comes under the Ministry of the Interior) said however that it should oversee the recordings under Czech law.
The valuable materials were uncovered by chance by insolvency administrators at a factory in Central Bohemia.
The spokesman for President Miloš Zeman, Jiří Ovčáček, should quit
over his comments on Twitter, says the president of the Czech
Constitutional Court, Rychetský. Speaking in an interview published by the
news site iDnes.cz, Mr. Rychetský said Mr. Ovčáček’s position gave
him no right whatever to express any opinions on the courts, domestic
politics or foreign policy.
Mr. Rychetský, who served as deputy prime minister in a government headed by Mr. Zeman, also said that the now head of state had – like his predecessors – allowed himself to be surrounded by yes men.
Saturday is the day of the year when Czechs have made enough money to pay
their tax obligations this year and begin earning for themselves, according
to the calculations of accounting firm Deloitte. It says it took the
country 174 days to reach the 2018 “tax freedom day”.
According to Deloitte, that day has never come so late in the year for Czechs. Another organisation, the Liberal Institute, uses different calculations and declared “tax freedom day” on May 22.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Jan Hamáček, says he could
temporarily also serve as minister of foreign affairs in a coalition his
party is planning with ANO. ANO are opposed to the Social Democrats’
nominee for the foreign affairs portfolio, Miroslav Poche.
Mr. Hamáček, who is in line to serve as interior minister in the Communist-supported two-party minority government, made the comments after President Miloš Zeman – who is also opposed to his candidature – asked Mr. Poche to step aside during a meeting on Friday.
ANO leader Andrej Babiš says he would have no problem with Social Democrats’ chairman Hamáček holding two ministerial posts for a limited period.
Mr. Babiš has said that the prospective coalition could undergo a vote of confidence in the lower house on July 11.
The names of several new key cabinet members put forth by the ANO party of
Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš have been leaked to the media.
The new Defence Minister is Lubomír Metnar, the current interior minister. He replaces Karla Šlechtová, who had highlighted alleged irregularities in many military contracts.
The incoming Justice Minister is Taťána Malá, an MP who has advocated postponing an investigation into an alleged EU subsidy fraud now dogging Mr Babiš. Some members of the Social Democrats, ANO’s coalition partner, have objected to Ms. Malá’s candidacy.
During her tenure as defence minister, Ms. Šlechtová contacted the military police after finding a number of alleged irregularities in a deal to buy mobile radar stations from Israel for CZK 3.5 billion under an agreement reached, but not signed, by her predecessor, Martin Stropnický (ANO).
Ms. Šlechtová, an independent, had previously served as Minister for Regional Development under Mr. Babiš’s predecessor, Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats).
The government has given its formal support to a draft proposal allowing
for same-sex marriages. With the cabinet’s support, the proposal, which
would require amending the Civil Code, will now go to the lower house of
Parliament for debate.
Current Czech civil law only allows for same-sex couples to have registered partnerships, an institution that would no longer be in place if same-sex marriages become legal. Thus far, 46 MPs representing six different parties in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies have signed on to the draft proposal.
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