Social Democratic Party deputy leader Michal Hašek, who admitted to lying
publicly this week about a secret post-election with President Miloš
Zeman, made clear on Wednesday he would not step down. He and other senior
Social Democrats Zdeněk Škromach, Jeroným Tejc and Jiří Zimola all
with the president at a secret meeting last weekend; Mr Hašek had
maintained such a meeting never took place.
Following Wednesday’s admission, the party’s chairman Bohuslav Sobotka said that either he or Mr Hašek would have to go and said a meeting of the party’s executive committee (set for November 10) would resolve the matter. Mr Hašek, in reaction, compared developments within the Social Democratic Party to a “witch hunt”. On Thursday, he himself apologised and said he would weigh possible steps on November 10.
An Austrian national of Czech descent, Philipp Janýr, filed charges of treason and sabotage on Thursday against President Miloš Zeman, the president’s chancellor Vratislav Mynář, Social Democrat deputy leader Michal Hašek and others. The charges were filed with the High State Attorney’s Office in Prague and in Olomouc. Mr Janýr is alleging that the group, through its actions, had attempted to push foreign interests represented by the Russian firms Lukoil and Rusatom by legally or illegally increasing influence within the executive and legislative branches. Mr Janýr suggested the state administration had been infiltrated by organised crime and foreign interests.
The Supreme Court has ruled that three former Civic Democratic Party MPs – Petr Tluchoř, Marek Šnajdr, and Ivan Fuksa – cannot be prosecuted for alleged corruption, saying parliamentary immunity covered actions outside the lower house. The three are suspected of receiving bribes in the form of lucrative posts in state companies in return for having allowed the former government to survive. The decision follows a similar ruling by the court earlier this year. In its ruling, the Supreme Court turned down a proposal by state prosecutor Ivo Ištvan who had tried to push ahead with criminal proceedings against the three. By contrast, the Supreme Court ruled that the former prime minister, Petr Nečas, could still be charged.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, spent Wednesday night in hospital
because of a knee injury. The head of a team of doctors looking after Mr
Zeman, Health Minister Martin Holcát, said that following an accident,
blood had swelled in the president’s knee and required neurological
tests. Those have since confirmed that Mr Zeman will have to use a
wheelchair and rest up for several weeks. Consequently, he was advised to
cancel planned foreign trips. On Thursday, Mr Zeman was released from
hospital care and
for the presidential chateau in Lány.
Regarding the cause of the accident, the health minister explained that the president had stumbled in the dark at night while heading for the bathroom; he said alcohol had not been a factor, which lab tests had confirmed. Mr Zeman is a heavy smoker who suffers from diabetes; doctors needed to take steps to minimalise potential threats, such as thrombosis or lung embolism.
Halloween has continued to gain in popularity among Czech pre-schoolers and schoolchildren, according to Czech Radio. Increasingly, various towns, nursery schools, as well as private venues hold events; this year, zoos and botanical gardens are among those to have prepared special programmes for children including pumpkin carving, lantern processions and masquerade balls, Czech Radio said.
After half-a-year’s absence 32 year-old Czech forward Martin Havlát returned to the ice on Wednesday for the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks lost 4-3 in overtime to the L.A. Kings but lead in the NHL. Havlat’s return was welcomed by the team captain; at the club another Czech player, 19 year-old Tomáš Hetrl, has so far had an excellent season, not long ago scoring four goals in a single game, one of them a sensational between-the-legs shot that beat New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron.
The leader of a revolt against the chairman of the Social Democrats has
admitted to a secret meeting with President Miloš Zeman after previously
denying it took place. On Tuesday the party’s number two Michal Hašek
had repeated the assertion that the meeting never happened, only to do a
u-turn on Wednesday. Three other senior Social Democrats have also finally
admitted that the talks took place on Saturday night, hours after the
outcome of a general election became clear.
At the meeting, the president, a former leader of the Social Democrats, is said to have called for the ousting of Bohuslav Sobotka as chairman in the wake of disappointing election results; the Social Democrats came first but took fewer votes than expected. Mr. Hašek on Sunday instigated a revolt against Mr. Sobotka. However, he has refused to quit and seems to be gathering momentum in the power struggle.
The first of the meeting’s participants to say that it occurred says that those who lied about it should quit the leadership of the Social Democrats. Deputy chairman Milan Chovanec said that another member of the party leadership had informed him several days in advance that the meeting with President Zeman would take place. One of the meeting’s participants, Jiří Zimola, said Mr. Zeman had asked the group to keep it secret. A wing of the party surrounding Mr. Hašek is believed to be close to the head of state.
Mr. Sobotka says he will not remain in the leadership of the Social Democrats with people who had lied publicly. He told the news website Aktualne.cz that a meeting of the party’s executive committee set for November 10 would decide who would remain: him or Mr. Hašek. He said that the Social Democrats needed to overcome the schizophrenia they had been suffering from for some time and that perhaps he ought to have tried to end it prior to the elections.