The lower house of Parliament decided Friday to lift immunity for the prime minister and his ANO senior party colleague Jaroslav Faltýnek to face criminal charges for the alleged abuse of EU funds in connection with the Stork’s Nest complex. Despite having consistently denied any wrongdoing, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his close associate asked for their immunity to be waived during the heated debate.
The lower house of Parliament has voted to strip Prime Minister Andrej Babis of his parliamentary immunity, opening the way for prosecution. The motion was supported by 111 deputies, 69 deputies of the prime minister's ANO party voted against. Mr. Babis, who is suspected of EU subsidy fraud, has denied any wrongdoing. He told the lower house on Friday that the charges against him had been fabricated by the mafia and political opponents who wanted to remove him from politics. We live in a country where it is possible to commission criminal charges against someone and have them thrown in jail, the prime minister noted.
The prime minister’s claim that it was possible to arrange a criminal
prosecution against someone has elicited a storm of criticism from the
Deputies accused Prime Minister Babis of undermining trust in the judiciary without having any proof to back his claim and said that if he really believed what he said he should sack Justice Minister Robert Pelikan.
They moreover pointed out that after having spent almost four years in government he should consider himself co-responsible for the state of the country.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman also issued a strong protest against the prime minister’s claim saying that if the prime minister had any proof to back his statement he should inform him in person.
The Chamber of Deputies is set to debate on Friday whether to allow the
police to press criminal charges against the prime minister and his ANO
senior party colleague Jaroslav Faltýnek for the abuse of EU funds in
connection with the Stork’s Nest complex, the deputies decided on
The prime minister has consistently denied any wrongdoing and said the affair was intended to force him out of politics. The previous Chamber of Deputies had stripped the pair of their immunity, also on their request, but they regained it with re-election in October.
The parliament’s mandate and immunity committee on Tuesday recommended deputies remove the parliamentary immunity of Mr Babiš and Mr. Faltýnek.
The embattled Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, who is seeking a vote of confidence for his minority government, has asked lawmakers to lift his parliamentary immunity so that he may defend himself in court against charges of EU subsidy fraud. The scandal surrounding Babiš is hampering his efforts to form a viable government since political opponents say they will not support a prime minister who is charged with fraud.
Polling stations around the country opened on Friday for Czechs to cast their vote in presidential elections. What are they expecting from their presidential candidate? Do they think their vote makes any difference? We talked to two Czechs at the opposite ends of the age spectrum about how they perceived the contest.
Czech voters began going to the polls on Friday in the first round of the presidential election. Standing in the election are nine candidates including the incumbent, Miloš Zeman, who is seeking a second five-year term. It is only the second time in history that Czechs are voting directly on who will be the head of state.
Czech attention focused Wednesday on the parliamentary vote of confidence in ANO leader Andrej Babiš’ government. But with the outcome of the vote a largely foregone conclusion, a lot of the attention was also on the appearance of outgoing president Miloš Zeman as he fights for five years more as head of state.
The police’s anti-corruption squad has recommended 18 people be charged
for large-scale tax evasion connected to diesel and gas transactions
between 2010 and 2011. The fuels were bought in Germany and Austria but the
VAT allegedly went unpaid; damages have been estimated at 1.4 billion
The news was confirmed by the spokesman for the National Centre Against Organised crime Jaroslav Ibehej.
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