Police investigators have proposed pressing charges against Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and several members of his family over suspicions that he and his associates illegally tapped into a 50 million crown EU subsidy ten years ago. If the prime minister stands trial and is found guilty he could face a jail sentence of between five and ten years.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Wednesday announced the details of a planned cabinet reshuffle. Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková will be leaving her post at the end of the month, together with Transport Minister Dan Ťok, who is leaving office at his own request following fierce criticism from opposition deputies. I asked political analyst Jiří Pehe about the timing of the reshuffle and the reasons behind it.
Weeks after his expulsion from the Civic Democrats, anti-EU MP Václav Klaus Jr. has revealed plans to launch a new party following May’s Euro elections. His father, the well-known former prime minister and president Václav Klaus, is set to occupy an honorary role in the new grouping. I discussed the politics and prospects of “Young Klaus” – as many call him in Czech – with political scientist Petr Just.
The Prague City Hall coalition is due to meet on Friday to discuss a controversial proposal to collect anonymous data from electricity meters to identify vacant housing units. Mayor Zdeněk Hřib of the Pirate Party, which is behind the move, says despite alarm calls by his coalition partners, the intention was never to try to identify the owners of vacant properties – whether ‘foreign speculators’ or local investors – in order to tax them.
Pressure is mounting for Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to recall Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková over a diplomatic incident that has highlighted China’s efforts to assert its influence in the Czech Republic. The revelation that a representative of Taiwan had been forced to leave a diplomatic meeting at the trade ministry at the request of the Chinese ambassador has sparked widespread criticism from politicians across-the-board.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said that citizens and businesses should be able to profit from state online services within the next five years. Furthermore, citizens should be able to rely on online services to support them in the full administration process. The commitment was made on Monday, at the launch of the annual ISSS conference in Hradec Králové which is being attended by more than 2,000 guests from the public and private sectors.
The Ministry of Defence has released its tender specifications for a new model of Infantry Fighting Vehicles which are set to replace its aging BVP-2s. Four pre-selected companies were invited to the negotiations on Wednesday and the ministry hopes to choose the supplier for its most expensive contract yet by the onset of September.
At their party congress this weekend, the Social Democrats re-elected Minister of Interior Jan Hamáček chairman and elevated rising political star Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček to deputy chairman. Delegates also endorsed a revised party platform, representing a shift some observers view as more radically left, other towards a mainstream European centre. Regardless, will it be enough to revive the party’s popularity?