Even before the police have concluded an investigation into the Stork’s Nest Affair, in which the prime minister is suspected of EU subsidy fraud, another member of his cabinet has been hit by scandal. The minister for regional development, Klára Dostálová, from the prime minister’s ANO party, appears to be a key suspect in a police investigation into the state agency CzechTourism.
Anti-corruption police officers staged raids on Wednesday morning at the
headquarters of both the Ministry for Regional Development and the state
The Prague Public Prosecutor's Office said the officers were collecting evidence related to CzechTourism contracts but declined to elaborate.
Two years ago, police investigated the agency after the Supreme Audit Office filed a criminal complaint over spending discrepancies.
The Ano party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has won the municipal elections in all regional capitals except Prague – where the opposition Civic Democrats and Pirates took first and second, respectively – and Liberec. The big losers of the day, in both the municipal and Senate races, were the Social Democrats and Communists.
The Ano movement of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is set to dominate
municipal elections in October nationwide while the opposition Civic
Democrats (ODS), the Pirates and far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy
Party (SPD) also have a great chance of success, according to polling
Of six major cities surveyed, only in Prague would Ano not take first place, where the movement would end third behind the Pirates and ODS, said SANEP, without providing detailed numbers.
Ano would win in Brno, Pilsen, Liberec, Ostrava and Ústí nad Labem while the Pirates will likely gain ground in Pilsen and Brno, it said.
The Social Democratic Party will not support its former chairman, Jiří
Paroubek, in the Senate elections due to take place in the autumn, the
party decided on Friday. Mr. Paroubek wanted to run as an independent
candidate with the support of the Social Democrats for the Senate seat in
the region of the Ostrava region.
Jiří Paroubek, who is now 66, headed the Social Democratic Party from 2006 to 2010 and served as Prime Minister between 2005 and 2006. After leaving the Social Democrats in 2011, he established his own left-oriented party LEV 21, which failed to win seats in the lower house in the past general election.
Moves are afoot to do away with the present system of voting for the
Senate, Czech Television reported. Currently if no candidate receives over
half the vote in a first round of Senate elections, the two front-runners
enter a second round a week later.
In April a group of Senators from the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats, the Mayors and Independents, the Civic Democrats, the Greens and ANO tabled a bill under which a first-past-the-post, one-round system would be created.
Backers of the change point out that turnout in the first round of Senate elections, held at the same time as regional and local elections, is 36 percent on average but that falls to 17 percent during the second round.
The policy programme of the ANO government in resignation includes creating a one-round system and that pledge also features in the manifesto of a potential ANO-Social Democrats coalition.
The first deputy chairman of the Christian Democrats, Marian Jurečka, has
blamed the party’s unimpressive showing in the general elections on their
abandonment of a deal to run together with the Mayors and Independents and
“poor communication”. Mr. Jurečka made the comments in an interview on
the SeznamZpravy.cz news site.
Mr. Jurečka also said that controversial comments by Christian Democrats chairman Pavel Bělobrádek on social media had cost them dearly. The party won 10 seats in the lower house for 5.8 percent of the vote.
Election winners ANO have ruled out speaking to representatives of the
Mayors and Independents Group or TOP 09 in a second round of talks on
forming a new government, the party’s leader, Andrej Babiš, told Czech
Television on Wednesday evening. The ANO chief said the two groupings had a
minimum number of deputies in the lower house and what’s more behaved in
a hostile manner toward his party.
Mr. Babiš said he would like his new government when it is formed to win a confidence vote in the lower house before Christmas. His party received almost 30 percent of the vote in last weekend’s elections and are currently sounding out other groupings on a possible coalition.
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