Leader of the Social Democratic party, Bohuslav Sobotka, said that if his party were to form a government after the next elections, it wants to introduce a new higher income tax for high earners. In an interview with the iDnes news server, Mr. Sobotka said that an income tax between 27 and 29 percent for people earning more than 100 thousand crowns a month will help decrease government debt. The leading left-wing party also came out with a 21-point campaign platform on Saturday afternoon, which promises the creation of new work places, increase of the minimum monthly wage from 8.5 to 12 thousand crowns and lowering of the VAT for medicine.
Former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg made a number of critical remarks about President Miloš Zeman in an interview with the Austrian weekly Presse am Sonntag. Mr. Schwarzenberg said that although he considers President Zeman to be a smart individual, and a first-class public speaker, his addiction to alcohol has caused him to loose all moral inhibitions. He also reiterated his earlier belief that Mr. Zeman’s interpretation and changes to the constitutional customs concerning the role of the president can be indirectly compared with the decisions made by the Nazi party in Germany in 1933.
Ten people were detained by the police at Moscow’s Red Square on Sunday, after a small commemoration of a demonstration held at the same place exactly 45 years ago in protest of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Around a dozen people held up a sign with the same slogan as was used in 1968: “For your and our freedom.” The demonstrators stood silently for approximately 10 minutes, after which they were led away by the police. The only person who was not detained was Natalia Gorbanevskaya, who was among the protesters 45 years ago. On August 25, 1968 eight people who held up signs with slogans on the Red Square in protest of the Czechoslovak occupation were arrested after only a few minutes. Seven of them were sentenced to years in prison, internal exile or forced psychiatric treatment.
This weekend the Czech roads will see the highest death toll this year so far. At least 13 people have died so far since Friday in car-related accidents, according to police statistics. So far the worst weekends on Czech roads where the last two in July, when 12 people perished in accidents. So far this August 50 people died in car accidents in this country, while last year the police registered 73 deaths in August.
Mycologist in the Přerov region have found a mushroom from the Boletaceae family, which had previously not been sited in the Czech Republic. The mushroom does not have a Czech name yet, and its first appearance was recorded in Italy six years ago. It has also been found since in Italy and England. It is yet unknown whether the mushroom is edible, but scientists believe that it most likely is.
Former president Václav Klaus told Czech Television on Saturday that he is seriously considering a return to politics. The former head of state said that he sees the current political situation as so dire, that he feels he could make a positive contribution if there was a big enough movement supporting him. Chairwoman of the Sovereignty Party Jana Bobošíková met with Mr. Klaus on Friday, but no specific announcement was made after the meeting. Former Civic Democratic MP Boris Šťastný left his party on Friday and said that he would be interested in joining a political movement led by Václav Klaus. So far the two-term president and former prime minister said that he has no concrete plans, but that he has to make a decision in the next few days.
The majority of the anti-Romany demonstrations that took place in seven cities and towns around the country have ended without major conflicts and with fairly minimal attendance. The police faced the biggest clashes with extremists in Ostrava and České Budějovice. In both cities, demonstrators changed the approved route of the rallies and attempted to get near neighborhoods with large Roma populations. In Ostrava, around 600 extremists threw stones, garbage cans and sticks at the police. At least 20 people were detained there, and approximately 15 in the city of Plzeň, where around 400 people attended the anti-Romany demonstration. In other places attendance was much lower and demonstrations ended without incidents.
Ahead of the planned anti-Romany protests in six Czech towns and cities, the Roma community and their supporters expressed disapproval of extremism on Saturday. In the south Bohemian České Budějovice, slogans on the pavement along the planned route of the demonstration appeared overnight. The slogans express an anti-extremist sentiment and question neo-Nazi ideology. In Brno, Jičín and Plzeň people are planning happenings, picnics and counter-demonstrations against extremism and violence. A few hundred people, who are mostly Romany, gathered in the city of Ostrava at a sanctioned meeting. The police have said that they are ready for the anti-Romany rallies and have sent anti-riot units and conflict resolution teams to all the locations.
Chairman of the Social Democratic party Bohuslav Sobotka was confirmed as the party’s candidate for prime minister in the general elections, in an anonymous vote at the Saturday meeting of the party’s leadership. The vote was proposed by the chairman of the Senate Zdeněk Škromach, with 86 delegates voting for the current party leader and 51 against him. Mr. Sobotka also said tat the meeting that the Social Democrats would not enter into a coalition with either of the biggest right-of-center parties – the Civic Democrats or the TOP 09 party. In case the party wins at least a third of the votes in the October general elections, Mr. Sobotka said he can envision a creating a single-party minority government.
The head of the Organized Crime Unit of the Czech Police Robert Šlachta has sent a letter addressed to members of parliament warning them against tampering with evidence or obstructing the investigations of the cases connected to the former prime minister’s chief of staff Jana Nagyová. The police had requested the lower house of parliament to provide them with videotapes and records of the MPs movements within the parliamentary building in July. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have so far refused, saying that the request is an encroachment on the rights of the legislative powers by the executive. Mr. Šlachta issued a stern warning after rules for the storage of information about MPs were changed this week, instructing deputies to get rid of all data by the end of their term in office. The new regulation means that the information the police needs for investigating alleged bribery could be destroyed within days.
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