Prague Civic Democrat councillor Boris Štastný has announced his decision to resign his seat on the city council. Mr. Štastný said he was leaving in protest against the present style of management and what he described as guerrilla warfare tactics used by rival Civic Democrats and TOP 09 on the council. Boris Štastný is a long-term critic of Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda accusing him of letting the city fall into debt and making incompetent decisions. He said the two-party coalition was no longer functional and he was no longer willing to accept co-responsibility for the shady deals being made.
Communist Party MEP Miloslav Ransdorf who has a 17 million crown debt has been unable to a visit from the bailiff and the confiscation of his real estate in Prague. His nine million crown house in Prague’s Libuse district and flat in Zabehlice are to be auctioned off on June 26th. The MEP allegedly owes money both to financial institutions and close friends.
On a working visit to Prague the president of the European Council, Herman
van Rompuy said the EU had weathered the worst of economic crisis and the
future of the euro was no longer at stake. He said the EU must now focus on
jump starting the economy and creating thousands of new jobs in order to
secure the return of financial stability. Prime Minister Petr Necas said
that, while it was in the Czech Republic’s best interests to help the
euro zone’s recovery, Prague was in no hurry to exchange the crown for
the euro and such a decision would have to be made on the basis of a
national referendum. Mr. Van Rompuy assured his host the European Council
would not pressurize Prague on the matter, adding that since the Czech
Republic did not fulfil the respective critieria for euro zone membership
it was not an issue of the present day.
Mr van Rompuy also met with the Czech president, Miloš Zeman. The European Council president’s visit comes some three weeks after the head of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, attended the ceremony of hoisting the EU flag at Prague Castle.
The Finance Ministry has announced plans to withdraw 6,000 licences for video lottery terminals which were originally issued until the end of 2014. The move is being made in line with the wishes of individual town halls which aim to cub gambling. The Czech Constitutional Court recently upheld a complaint filed collectively by town halls that attacked an article of the lottery law enabling the finance ministry to issue video lottery terminal licences over their heads.
The Czech Senate on Thursday approved four new Constitutional Court judges, accepting all the nominations proposed by President Miloš Zeman. The new judges are Jaroslav Fenyk, Jan Filip, Vladimir Sládeček and Milada Tomková. There were three vacancies in the 15-member court to date and another seven seats are to be vacated by the end of the year. Ahead of the vote President Zeman urged the upper house to vote prudently saying the Constitutional Court was on the brink of collapse and must be stabilized. The head of state has promised to submit four more candidates in June.
Czech judges and attorneys halted the prosecution of 757 people in 415 cases by the end of March on the basis of an amnesty issued in January by then president Václav Klaus, a spokeswoman for the Supreme State Attorney said on Wednesday. Around half of the cases were related to alleged economic crime. The controversial amnesty, which among other things ordered judges and prosecutors to stop cases lasting for more than eight years, came under severe criticism and prompted the Senate to raise high treason charges against then president Václav Klaus at the Czech Constitutional Court.
The police have caught a man suspected of having stolen some 400 cremations urns from cemeteries in northern Bohemia. The police said the 23-year-repeat offender, who confessed to the crime, emptied the urns and damaged them in order to sell them as scrap metal, causing damages of around 200,000 crowns. The man faces charges of theft and desecration of human remains; if convicted, he could land a five-year sentence.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas on Wednesday criticized President Miloš Zeman over his remarks over the post-war expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia. During his visit to Austria, Mr Zeman on Tuesday said the expulsion of around three million Germans was justified as 90 percent of them had voted for a Nazi party. He also suggested that for collaborators with an occupying power, the expulsion was less severe punishment than death penalty. Speaking in Prague on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nečas said the president should adopt a more measured tone, and realize that “we live in 2013 and are members of the EU”.
Czech Post on Wednesday began distribution new stamps with the portrait of President Miloš Zeman. The president’s portrait on the stamp was based on a photograph by Herbert Slavík. Czech Post has so far produced 10 million pieces of the new stamp which is worth 10 crowns. Previously, it had produced 94 million presidential stamps with the portrait of Václav Klaus, and 260 million with Václav Havel's image.
Around 34 of Czechs want a snap general election, according to a new poll by STEM agency. Meanwhile, 16 percent of those polled said they wanted the current coalition government to continue until the next regular election scheduled for May 2014, and another 12 percent believe the government should continue but changes at some ministerial posts should be made.
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