Czech unions have expressed support for a coalition agreement covering
of the nascent centre-left government. Václav Picl, the deputy chairman
the union umbrella organisation ČMKOS, told journalists on Monday policy
priorities generally corresponded with that of the unions. Josef
the head of the strongest trade union KOVO, meanwhile, went further,
the coalition agreement was the best the country had seen in the
In particular, union leaders welcomed the planned increase in the minimum wage, the abolition of private pension schemes (the so-called second pillar of pension system created by the previous centre-right government) and more support for families with children. Critics have charged that the emerging coalition, however, has not outlined how many planned changes will be paid for. On Monday, representatives of the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats are meeting to discuss ministerial posts in the emerging government.
The state Lands Registry is investigating whether 11 religious orders and one bishopric have the right to the return of property under church restitution legislation, Lidové noviny reported on Monday. Officials are examining the archives in order to establish whether they were stripped of their property under post-war decrees, which would rule out the return of property, or by the Communist regime. Around 150 restitution claims from the religious subjects have been put on ice while the investigation continues. Assets totaling CZK 75 billion are being handed back to churches, along with CZK 60 billion in financial compensation.
The board of works at city hall in Prague 6 announced on Monday it had given the go-ahead for the demolition of the communist-era Hotel Praha, considered a landmark by some historians. The decision can be appealed, otherwise, demolition of the building will begin in January, the hotel’s owners PPF revealed. The demolition of the building is to make way for a park for pupils of an elite school, both elementary and high school levels, run by the company. Hotel Praha was built at the end of the 1970s and was used by members of Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party and members of the government.
A deal by the Czech Republic to sell 24 L159 training jets to Iraq for more than 20 billion crowns has fallen through, financial daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday. According to the newspaper, the country lost out to South Korea’s Korean Aircraft Industries, who signed a contract with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last week. The Korean firm succeeded even though media reports had suggested the Czech sale was almost a “done deal”. The Czech Republic had hoped to see the creation of more than 700 new jobs at home had a deal been reached. The sale of the Aero Vodochody planes was discussed for several years.
The deputies club of ANO, one of the parties in negotiations on the new government, officially approved a coalition deal with the Social and Christian Democrats on Monday. The club also formally approved party leader Andrej Babiš to negotiate posts in the new cabinet. According to the head of the party’s deputies club, Jaroslav Faltýnek, the party chairman was not ‘bound’ to negotiate on concrete ministries, a reference to tactics taken by the Christian Democrats who are trying to secure the Agriculture Ministry for one of their candidates. Among ministerial posts in the government, ANO are expected to run the Finance Ministry.
President Miloš Zeman says he bears the greatest responsibility for the failure of his Citizens’ Rights Party-Zemanites in October’s general elections, when the grouping took just 1.51 percent of the vote. Speaking on TV Nova, Mr. Zeman said if there had been a marked difference between results in different regions the blame would have attached to individual local leaders; as this was not the case, the failure was due to a common reason: himself.
Eight competitors, out of roughly 500 at in international Taekwondo tournament in Pelhřimov, had to be treated in hospital for injuries suffered. None of the injuries were serious, news website iDnes reports, although one youth briefly lost consciousness. Taekwondo is a full-contact martial art, meaning kicks to the head are permitted. The organiser said injuries were not uncommon in the sport and that all participants wore helmets and protective padding. He pointed out that the aim was to score points – not to hurt opponents.
Monday saw competitors drawn for the next stage of football’s Champions
League as well as the second-tier Europa League next spring. No Czech team
made the final 16 stage in the Champions League, but two high-profile
players – midfielder Tomáš Rosický (Arsenal) and star goalie Petr
Čech (Chelsea) – will see action. Arsenal will face Bayern Munich (the
same as last season) and Chelsea, Turkish club Galatasary.
In the Europa League, Slovan Liberec face the Dutch club Alkmaar, while Viktoria Plzeň face a tough opponent in Shaktar Donetsk.
The chairman of the Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, could present President Miloš Zeman with a concrete plan for the division of ministries in the government he is forming with ANO and the Christian Democrats at a meeting planned for Thursday. Speaking on a TV debate show on Sunday, the Social Democrats deputy chair Milan Chovanec said the proposal could include the names of ministerial candidates. Mr. Chovanec said Mr. Sobotka should get authorisation from the president to form a government before Christmas. Following the presentation of a coalition deal last week, the three parties are due to hold negotiations on the division of portfolios in the coming days.
The leadership of the smallest party in the nascent government, the Christian Democrats, have approved the coalition deal with the Social Democrats and ANO. However, disquiet remains in the party over the number and type of ministries it will receive. The Social Democrats have offered Christian Democrats two seats, which the latter’s leaders say is too few. Chairman Pavel Bělobrádek, who has just returned from an overseas trip, said on Sunday that the party would insist on being given control of the ministry of agriculture.