The election of Communist MP Zdeněk Ondráček as head of the lower house committee overseeing the police proved short-lived. Following demonstrations across the Czech Republic and a motion for his removal, the MP stepped down of his own accord. The question now is whether the Communist Party will rethink planned support for a minority government headed by Andrej Babiš.
The lower house on Wednesday supported a proposal to increase the security
clearance for the president’s chancellor to the highest level. The
proposal, put forward by the Mayors and Independents Party, was approved in
its first reading despite ANO party and the Communist deputies voting
The proposal comes as reaction to the fact the current chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, has been holding the post despite having failed to pass the top-level security clearance. If the amendment is approved, Mr Mynář would have to get the highest level clearance by the end of the year to remain in the post of a chancellor.
On Friday Zdeněk Ondráček was elected chairman of the lower house committee that oversees the agency that investigates police malpractice. The move sparked plans for street demonstrations due to Mr. Ondráček’s past as a pre-1989 riot policeman. Now, however, ANO, who helped the Communist win the post, are set to remove him.
The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial Communist Party proposal for Church restitutions to be taxed. Although the bill was only passed in its first reading, support from the parties currently debating a coalition-in-the making has cast doubt on the future of a hard-won settlement between the country’s 16 churches and the State.
The Czech Republic’s position on the Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International slightly improved in 2017. The country moved two rungs up the ladder to 42nd place, acquiring 57 points out of a maximum possible 100. David Ondráčka of Transparency’s Czech branch told Radio Prague that the improvement was only slight and the country should aim to do better.
Unsuccessful Czech presidential candidate Pavel Fischer has announced he
will stand for Senate elections in the Prague 12 district as an
Fischer, who scored a surprise third place in the first round of elections with 10.23 percent of support, announced his decision on Thursday.
The former diplomat said he would like to specialise in the upper house of parliament in foreign policy, defence policy, and help for the regions. He added that he would seek support from other political parties.
The Czech Republic has slightly improved its standing in watchdog
Transparency Internationals’ annual Corruption Perception Index for 2017.
Under TI’s criteria, the country picked up 57 points compared to 55 in 2016. The country has moved to 42nd spot in the worldwide rankings, but it still lags behind the EU average by eight points.
In Europe, the Czech Republic climbed to 18th spot from last year’s 19th, but still found itself behind all of the Baltic States and Poland.
Transparency International’s annual Index has rated countries by perceived levels of corruption since 1995 on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being very corrupt and 100 being very clean.
The head of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský has said that the
leader of the Freedom and Direct Democracy party Tomio Okamura "should
not have been elected as deputy speaker of the Chamber of Deputies".
The judge made the comment in a weekly political debate program, saying “the situation was serious” when someone with Mr Okamura's views could serve in such a high post; he called Okamura’s publicly held views “truly racist and xenophobic” and in line with neo-Nazism.
A former spokesman and businessman turned politician, Mr Okamura has capitalized on an anti-migrant, anti-Islam platform. Most recently he stirred controversy by questioning conditions at the Lety concentration camp in South Bohemia during WWII where Roma where interned and suffered appalling conditions and disease and many died. Many others held there were sent on to the Auschwitz death camp.
Mr Okamura recently came second in a poll of most trusted politicians. He polled at 33 percent, behind Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at 37 percent in a survey conducted by the CVVM agency.
Surgeon Marek Hilšer, one of the candidates in the recent presidential
election, who finished fifth in the first round with over eight percent (a
little over 450,000 votes) announced on Monday he will run for the Czech
Senate in the autumn election.
Mr Hilšer is planning to run in Prague in one of four possible districts. He is currently looking for possible support from some of the parties in the lower house, the Czech News Agency reported.
Support for the election of Communist Party MP Zdeněk Ondráček to head
the lower house’s committee overseeing the General Inspection of the
Security Services should not be part of talks on forming a new government,
Radek Vondráček of ANO said on a TV discussion show on Sunday.
Controversy has surrounded efforts to install Mr. Ondráček in the post,
given the fact the inspection body oversees the police and he took part in
a crackdown on protesters in 1989 while a member of a Communist-era riot
Mr. Vondráček’s view was echoed by Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats, who said talks on forming a government should focus on that topic alone.