For the first time in its history the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has polled below the minimum 5 percent threshold necessary to get into the Chamber of Deputies. While some commentators have called this a sign that they are headed for the dustbin of history, party chairman Vojtěch Filip says that the survey, conducted by the Kantar agency in August, is unreliable. I asked political commentator Jiří Pehe what he makes of the poll.
The lower house of Parliament will debate a Senate proposal to file a
constitutional complaint against President Miloš Zeman on September 26,
without any specific recommendation from the chamber’s Committee for
Legal Matters, the ctk news agency reported. The committee’s only
recommendation is that the debate should be public.
The proposal was approved by the Senate in July. If it is passed by the lower house, it will reach the Constitutional Court.
However, this is unlikely, due to the ruling ANO-Social Democrat coalition, supported by the Communist Party, holding a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
The complaint is based on the president’s recent procrastination tactics in sacking and naming a new culture minister and his frequent unwillingness to adhere to the government’s set foreign policy line.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has said he holds Jaroslav Šaroch, the state
attorney who halted the prosecution of PM Andrej Babiš over suspected EU
subsidy fraud, in high esteem, praising him for having the courage to defy
the "the media gang” hounding the prime minister and change his
position on the case. In an interview for commercial TV Barrandov, Mr.
Zeman said Šaroch's report on the case should be available to the
The Prague Municipal State Attorney's Office said on Monday that Šaroch had changed his legal opinion on the case and that his superior is now checking whether the change is substantiated and in accordance with law.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman and Jusice Minister Marie Benešová, have both criticized the approach of the Prague state attorney’s office toward the case. In an interview for Denik N, Mrs. Benešová said the prosecutors’ work was incomprehensible and sent a bad signal about the state of the system of state attorneys.
The municipal state attorney’s office in Prague is expected to say on
Monday whether criminal charges will be brought against the Czech prime
minister, Andrej Babiš, and members of his family. The police have
recommended that charges be filed over suspicion of abuse of EU subsidies
in connection with Stork’s Nest, a hotel and conference centre near
Prague. The prosecutor had until the end of August to come to a decision on
the matter. The case file is reported to contain 23,000 pages.
Some members of the junior party in government, the Social Democrats, have called for ANO leader Babiš to stand down. However, party chairman Jan Hamáček says the Social Democrats will remain in the coalition even if the PM is charged.
The former deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Czech
Republic (ÚZSI) Zdeněk Blahut has been charged with fraud and abuse of
office, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague reported on Friday.
No further details were released.
According to the news site idnes.cz Blahut’s detention is part of an ongoing investigation into the financial management of the Foreign Intelligence Service. The news site claims the police also questioned the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Jiří Šašek and the former interior minister Milan Chovanec, who appointed Blahut to office. Chovanec later dismissed the claim.
The Foreign Intelligence Service’s principal goal is to provide foreign intelligence vital for the security and protection of the Czech Republic’s foreign policy interests and economic interests.
Blahut served as its deputy head from September 2014 until January of this year.
On the occasion of the 30-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution which
led to the fall of communism in November 1989, the Czech Senate will hold
three conferences, the speaker of the upper house Jaroslav Kubera told
journalists on Wednesday.
These will not only focus on the Velvet Revolution, but two further events that took place during the last two months of 1989 – the canonisation of St. Agnes of Bohemia and the reestablishment of the Czech Scouts movement. According to Senate Speaker Kubera the reason behind organising the three conferences is the current relativizing of the values and heritage of November 17, 1989 and the Senate’s role as a guarantor of the constitutional order.
President Miloš Zeman is due to remain in office until early 2023. But that hasn’t stopped names of possible successors already appearing in the media. Mr. Zeman’s defeated opponent in last year’s runoff, Jiří Drahoš, says a second run is definitely “in play”, while ex-sports star Dominik Hašek has also signalled his interest.
The legendary Czech ice hockey goaltender Dominik Hašek, dubbed The
Dominator, has not ruled out running for president, when Miloš Zeman’s
second term in office expires in 2023.
Hašek said in an interview for Radio Impuls that he could well imagine himself in the top post, although he was not actively preparing for such a move now. “Who knows what may happen in three years’ time - anything is possible,” he told the radio host.
In his 16-season National Hockey League career, Hašek played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators.
During the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, he led the Czech national ice hockey team to its first and only Olympic gold medal. The crowds at home welcomed him with the chant “Hašek na Hrad” or “Hašek at Prague Castle”. He retired in 2012.
The Senate has passed a draft law that would make it easier for the
children and grandchildren of exiles from Communist Czechoslovakia to
obtain Czech citizenship.
The legislation pertains to descendants of Czechs stripped of their Czechoslovak citizenship prior to 1989. Applicants must provide documentation detailing when and how their parent or grandparent lost their citizenship in order to be eligible.
The bill, which went through several readings in both houses of Parliament, must be signed by the president to become law.
According to the Interior Ministry, the change in law could lead to applications from hundreds of people, including families of former Czechoslovak citizens living in crisis-torn Venezuela.
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