As the Czech nation celebrates 30 years of freedom and democracy the words of a leading Communist Party official have caused a public outcry. In an interview for Czech Radio, the party’s deputy chair, Stanislav Grospič argued that the 1968 Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia was not an invasion and that the people killed had died mostly in road accidents. While his words evoked widespread condemnation, the Communist Party has not distanced itself from the statement.
The Senate commission set up to assess the European Commission audits
concerning Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's suspected conflict of
interest says its initial findings suggest that this may be the case and
has invited the prime minister for questioning.
The commission, headed by Zdeněk Nytra from the Civic Democrats' senators' group, does not have the status of an investigative body, but was set up to monitor developments in the case and guarantee objectivity.
The two EC audits, which are both preliminary, claim that the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest due to continued influence on the agro-chemical business conglomerate Agrofert which he established and later put in trust funds in order to comply with a strict new conflict of interests law.
Prime Minister Babiš has denied any wrongdoing, saying he had fully adhered to Czech law.
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.
Dr. Zdeňek Ondráček, a communist party member of the Chamber of Deputies
has found himself under fire following allegations he plagiarised parts of
his thesis during the time he studied for his doctorate at the Palacký
University in Olomouc. The MP has dismissed the claims and said he is
considering legal steps in his defence.
Journalists from the Czech daily Mf DNES found eight passages sometimes up to a page long from previous academic research, which Dr. Ondráček failed to either cite or reference in his thesis.
According to the Palacký University in Olomouc, Dr. Ondráček’s thesis was checked by anti-plagiarism software upon being handed in and nothing was detected. However, the university spokeswoman told Czech Radio that the institution will re-analyse the thesis and should have a conclusion ready within a month.
The regional council of Central Bohemia has halted an infringement
procedure against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on the grounds of a
complaint regarding a possible conflict of interest.
The news was confirmed by Babiš’ lawyer Václav Knotek, who said the regional council had found no evidence that Andrej Babis had any influence over the companies he had placed in trust funds to meet a strict new conflict of interest law.
A complaint against the prime minister was previously debated by the Černošice council which arrived at the opposite conclusion and meted out a 200,000 crown fine for the offense. Babiš appealed the decision.
The Czech branch of Transparency International filed a complaint with the Černošice council - a small municipality just outside Prague where Babiš lives - because Czech law states that conflict of interest complaints must be registered with the relevant local authority.
The Speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera presented twelve outstanding
personalities with the Senate’s silver commemorative medal at a special
gala ceremony on the eve of the Day of Czech Statehood, or St. Wenceslas‘
Day on September 28.
Among those honoured were RAF pilot General Emil Boček, the renowned traveller Miroslav Zikmund, and musician Michael Kocáb.
General Boček, gave a moving thank you speech on behalf of those recognized, thanking the Senate for remembering its war veterans and saying the silver medal was a tribute to all his friends in the RAF who are no longer with us.
A bid by opposition MPs to remove President Zeman from office failed on Thursday, as the lower house rejected a proposal to file a constitutional complain against the Czech head of state. The complaint, approved by the Senate, accused the president of repeatedly overstepping his powers in breach of the constitutional order and trying to create a semi-presidential system.
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 Czech police have proposed that the former regional governor of the
Usti region Jiří Šulc be charged with abuse of office, news site
Aktuálně reported on Wednesday. Investigators believe that Mr. Šulc
influenced the selection procedure for the director of the ROP Severozápad
who was responsible for allocating EU funds in the northwest of the
The benefactor of this action was to be Mr. Šulc’s acquaintance Petr Kušnierz, the former head of ROP Severozápad, who was sentenced to prison in 2017 for influencing grant projects in the region.
According to Aktuálně the police have also asked for criminal charges against Mr. Kušnierz’s predecessor in the position Petr Vráblík, who they believe took part in manipulating the grants.
Both Mr. Šulc and Mr. Vráblík have denied any wrongdoing in their previous statements.
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