The Czech Republic has halted arms exports to Turkey in response to
Ankara's incursion into northern Syria, Interior Minister Jan
Hamáček (Social Democrats) announced via Twitter on Monday evening,
following a government meeting. Trade Minister Karel Havlíček, whose
ministry had published the country's arms export figures earlier that
day, said that armaments exports to Turkey only make up around CZK 140
The news comes after meeting of the European Union's foreign ministers in Luxembourg, where member states pledged to suspend weapons exports to Turkey, but did not go as far as to implement a formal EU-wide arms embargo. During which Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) told journalists that he will propose to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš that the Czech Republic take part in an arms embargo on Turkey.
MEP Jiří Pospíšil, current chairman of the centre-right TOP 09 party,
was elected head of its Prague branch on Saturday, winning 73 votes out of
Pospíšil, 43, said he will step down as party chairman in November in order to concentrate on coordinating TOP O9’s work at Prague City Hall, as well as European politics.
Expected to run for the TOP 09 leadership are current first vice-chair Markéta Pekarová Adamová and Senator Tomáš Czernin.
Pospíšil twice served as Minister of Justice when a member of the Civic Democrats: between 2006 and 2009, under Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, and from 2010 to 2012, under Prime Minister Petr Nečas.
He won a seat in the European Parliament as a member of TOP 09.
The ANO-appointed minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, says that if the
Social Democrats put forward a special tax on the banking sector it would
be in breach of the coalition agreement.
The latter party’s minister for labour and social affairs, Jana Maláčová, said last week that she would submit a bill on a banks tax herself if no agreement was reached with ANO on the matter.
Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Minster Schillerová said if her cabinet colleague actually put forward legislation to that effect it could spell the end of the coalition government.
Ms. Maláčová argues that Czech banks are making record profits.
The Czech Banking Association says 15 EU states have a bank sector tax.
Communist Party leader Vojtěch Filip announced on Friday that his deputies
will likely support the 2020 state budget proposal presented by the finance
The government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) in mid-September proposed a 2020 budget with a deficit of 40 billion crowns, the same as planned for this year.
Filip’s announcement came following a meeting with Mr Babiš and Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová (ANO). The minority coalition government with the Social Democrat relies on Communist tolerance.
The Communists have used their role as kingmaker several times to win major concessions. ANO was obliged to support their proposal to tax compensation awarded churches in lieu of property seized by the former regime that could not be returned in restitution.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Finance Minister Alena Schillerová are
due to discuss next year’s state budget with representatives of the
Communists on Friday, iDnes.cz reported. The party’s executive committee
will be holding an extraordinary meeting that day and the government
officials hope to persuade them to back a CZK 40 billion deficit when the
2020 budget is voted on.
Communist MP Miloslava Vostrá, who is chair of the lower house’s budget committee, said at the end of August that she would recommend her party leadership support the budget, despite the CZK 40 billion deficit. The party had previously demanded that the deficit not exceed CZK 30 billion.
Under an agreement, the Communists support the minority government of ANO and the Social Democrats on key votes.
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.
Václav Klaus Jr. was elected head of the new conservative Tricolour party
he founded at its election conference in Brno on Saturday. Klaus Jr., son
of the former Czech president, ran for the top post unchallenged, and was
elected by 185 votes out of 188.
Klaus Jr. established the new party after getting expelled from the centre-right Civic Democratic Party for allegedly failing to respect its political agenda and values. His new party wants to lower taxes, scrap the minimal wage and secure an exemption from Eurozone membership for the Czech Republic.
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.
The leadership of the Communist Party has appealed to the government to
prevent the removal of the controversial statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan
Konev from its site in Prague 6.
In a resolution approved at a meeting of the party leadership on Saturday, the party says it disagrees with the decision of the Prague 6 authorities to replace the controversial statue with a new monument to the liberators of Prague in 1945. It says that with respect to historic events the government should ensure that the statue be allowed to remain in its rightful place.
The decision to remove the statue from its present site and find a suitable new location for it has angered the Russian authorities, who issued a statement on Friday warning Prague the act would damage Czech-Russian relations and would not go unanswered.
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