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10-06-2019

Supreme state attorney says Zeman comments show his ousting is being mulled

The supreme state attorney, Pavel Zeman, says comments made by President Miloš Zeman at the weekend indirectly confirm that his removal is being considered. The head of state criticised the prosecutor’s stated intention of analyzing a preliminary European Council report suggesting that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was in conflict of interest. Critics say that Mr. Babiš and President Zeman are in alliance.

Pavel Zeman told the Czech News Agency he would not respond to the president’s invective against him.

Mr. Babiš’s appointment as justice minister of Marie Benešová has led critics to suggest state prosecutors could be undermined. They are due to respond to a police call to charge the prime minister with the alleged abuse of EU subsidies. Ms. Benešová is also seen as being close to President Zeman.

iRozhlas: Zeman right hand man tried to influence justice minister

A former minister of justice, Robert Pelikán, says that Vratislav Mynář, the head of President Miloš Zeman’s office, tried to pressure him to intervene in a case involving Lesní správy Lány, which oversees forestry at the president’s residence. News site iRozhlas.cz reported on Monday that Mr. Mynář had repeatedly pushed Mr. Pelikán to file a complaint of violation of the law in the case. The former minister rejected this call.

Police have charged a subordinate of Mr. Mynář and another man over the case, which centres on a public contract worth CZK 100 million.

iRozhlas.cz also reported that President Zeman’s right hand man had also tried unsuccessfully to pressure a later justice minister. Mr. Mynář has refused to comment.

Hamáček meets with organizers of anti-government protests

Deputy Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček on Sunday met with representatives of the civic initiative Million Moments for Democracy, which has been organizing anti-government protests around the country in recent weeks.

Mr. Hamáček met with the protest leaders after Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, against whom the protests are primarily directed, refused to do so. He later wrote on Twitter that the meeting had focussed around guarantees for the independence of the judiciary and the discussed amendment to the law on state attorneys, which would limit their time in office.

Demonstrators have been calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the dismissal of Marie Benešová, who was appointed to the post of justice minister just a day after the police proposed charging the prime minister with EU subsidy fraud.

Czech jobless number lowest in 22 years

Unemployment in the Czech Republic fell to 2.6 percent in May from 2.7 percent the previous month, according to official figures released on Monday. Some 200,675 people were out of work in May, the lowest number recorded since the same month in 1997.

Meanwhile, the number of vacant positions grew to almost 347,000, the Office of Labour said.

Analysts said that unemployment was close to the lowest level it could reach, with the number set to grow slightly in the summer because of new graduates.

Funeral of Jiří Stránský takes place in Prague

The funeral of writer Jiří Stránský took place Prague’s Church of Our Lady Before Týn on Monday. The mass was served by the head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, who said that Mr. Stránský had enriched Czech culture thanks to the brave life he had led.

Mr. Stránský, who was 87, spent almost a decade in Communist labour camps as a political prisoner after being convicted of “treason” in the hard-line 1950s and drew on those experiences in his writings. In the 1990s he became president of the Czech PEN Club.

Vondroušová jumps to 16th in world after reaching Paris final

Czech tennis player Markéta Vondroušová has shot to 16 in the world rankings, her highest ever position. The 19-year-old climbed 22 places in the WTA rankings after losing to Ashleigh Barty of Australia in her first Grand Slam final at the Paris Open on Saturday.

The Czech Republic’s Karolína Plíšková remains number two in the world, while Petra Kvitova has climbed one spot to fifth.

Weather forecast

It should be mainly sunny with the chance of storms in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 31 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs will remain at around 30 degrees Celsius for the remainder of the week.

10-06-2019