Three contestants will be vying for the position of chairman of the Pirate
Party at the party's January statewide conference. According to Czech
Television, current Pirates leader Ivan Bartoš will be challenged by
Chamber of Deputies members Vojtěch Pikal and Mikuláš Ferjenčík.
Members were able to nominate candidates on the party's forum website
by the end of Friday.
Ivan Bartoš has led the Pirate Party since 2016, but was chairman during two stints between 2009 and 2014.
The introduction of a new system under which if an MP becomes a minister
they can be replaced by another member of their party now depends on the
Senate. The introduction of the sliding mandate, as it is called, has the
backing of the Chamber of Deputies, Czech Television reported on Sunday.
The Senate has expressed opposition to this constitutional change but may back it in exchange for other changes. These include extending the term of Constitutional Court judges to 12 years and making it easier to file a petition against the president at the country’s highest court.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said he had asked Jaroslav Faltýnek, head of ANO’s lower house group, to undertake negotiations to push the introduction of the sliding mandate through.
The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill that will enable Czech citizens
to communicate with state institutions electronically as of 2020.
According to the proposed law on digital services people will also no longer have to provide the same information to different institutions, and civil servants will be expected to seek it out themselves from electronic registers.
Paper forms will be preserved, mainly for the sake of senior citizens.
The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president. The process is expected to be smooth.
In 2018 the company Photon Water Technology secured a grant from the Czech Development Agency for a project to install water-cleaning facilities in small and medium-sized towns and villages in Peru. I spoke to the company’s managing director, Petr Kvapil, about what the project entails and why they chose to take their know-how to Peru.
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.
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.
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 Czech lower house of Parliament has approved a cabinet proposal that
would see medical marihuana mostly covered by public health insurance.
According to the proposal, which will now go to the Senate, insurers would cover 90 percent of the cost of for medical marihuana per month on a maximum of 30 grams per patient.
MPs rejected an amendment by Pirate deputy Tomáš Vymazal to make the payment 100 percent and set the monthly limit at 180 grams.
The state collected over one trillion crowns in taxes last year, which is
62 billion more than in the previous year, the Czech News Agency reported
According to the state’s final account, presented by the government in the Lower House of Parliament, some 727 billion crowns ended up in the state budget and 295 billion crowns were earmarked for regions and municipalities. Nearly 20 billion crowns went to the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure. Collection of VAT and personal income tax recorded the steepest growth in 2018.
Three MPs have quit Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy Party.
Lubomír Volný, Marian Bojko and Ivana Nevludová were all elected in the
Moravian Silesian Region. Mr. Volný said the move was in protest at the
fact that the party had allowed racists and neo-Nazis to enter its ranks.
He has rejected a call from Freedom and Direct Democracy to also resign
from his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.
Mr. Volný is a controversial figure who in the past called Václav Havel a traitor, criticised the Erasmus scheme for students and offered to “take outside” a dispute with another MP during a lower house session. Soon after he announced that he would challenge Mr. Okamura for the party chairmanships his local branch was dissolved.