Health Minister Svatopluk Nemeček told journalists he was not interested in escalating the conflict with the finance minister and wanted to get back to get back to work. The minister said he was not concerned about losing in post and felt that he had the support of his party leadership. On Friday the health minister accused media controlled by the Agrofert company, which is owned by ANO party leader Andrej Babiš, of publishing lies and trying to damage his reputation. Mr. Babiš advised the health minister to get psychiatric treatment.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has dismissed speculation of a coalition crisis in the wake of a flaming row between Finance Minister Andrej Babiš of the ANO party and Health Minister Svatopluk Nemeček of the Social Democrats. The prime minister, who met with Andrej Babiš late on Friday night, said that there was no question of the coalition falling apart adding that a meeting planned for Wednesday would help clear the air. He expressed regret that the ministers had played out their conflict in the media, rather than on coalition ground. Mr. Babiš has criticized the heath minister’s performance in office, saying that if he were a member of his ANO party he would have been recalled long ago.
Czech universities are organizing a gathering at Prague’s Albertov on November 17 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the 75th anniversary of the Nazi oppression of Czech university students in 1939. The event is to be attended by President Miloš Zeman and his counterparts from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Germany. The event will be followed by a debate with the four heads of state at the building of the Law Faculty. A series of other events are scheduled to take place on November 17 across the Czech Republic to mark the fall of communist regime.
Czech President Miloš Zeman on Friday filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court over the civil service bill. The president proposes to revoke the bill in full or to abolish certain parts. Mr Zeman vetoed the bill, which had been approved by the Czech parliament early in October, but his veto was subsequently overturned in a new lower house vote. The bill should depoliticize public administration and overhaul rules for the employment of public servants, but Mr Zeman has repeatedly criticised the fact that it introduces politically appointed deputy ministers.
The first delivery of medical marihuana for patients suffering from illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, has arrived in the Czech Republic. One kilogramme of the drug imported from the Netherlands by the company Czech medical Herbs will be distributed to pharmacies in the course of next week. Another two companies that won a license for growing and distributing medical marihuana are Elkoplast Slušovice and Phoenix. The law on medical marihuana opening the way for patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological diseases to use the drug under medical supervision, came into force in February last year.
Vojtěch Filip, deputy chair of the lower house and head of the Communist Party, on Friday defended his recent trip to Moscow, which was condemned by the majority of Czech MPs. Mr Filip insisted it was an official trip of the lower chamber, approved by its head Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats. He also said the main topic on his agenda was the impact of the EU sanctions against Russia on Czech companies. Mr Filip visited the Russian Parliament last Wednesday at the invitation of its vice chairman Sergei Zheleznyak, who is one of the Russian officials targeted by the EU and US sanctions.
Minister Svatopluk Němeček of the Social Democrats has accused media controlled by the Agrofert company, which is owned by ANO party leader Andrej Babiš, of publishing lies and trying to damage his reputation. Mr Němeček denied information published by the Mladá fronta Dnes daily and idnes.cz website on Friday, claiming that the health ministry had advocated stem cell treatment for patients suffering from diabetes. Finance Minister Babiš reacted on Twitter by saying that the health minister should undergo alcohol addiction and psychiatric treatment. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told the Czech News Agency that the dispute will be discussed at a special coalition meeting.
Police have charged five people with tax evasion amounting to some 700 million crowns, the website of the anti-corruption police unit informed on Friday. According to the unit’s spokesman Ladislav Ibehej, the suspects had established several firms in order to carry out fictitious exports of non-existent goods. If found guilty they would face up to ten years in prison.
Sparta Prague beat Slovan Bratislava 4:0 in the second leg of their Europa League tie in Prague on Thursday. Sparta captain David Lafata scored twice; another two points were added by Krejčí and Costa. The first leg of Sparta’s Europa League tie against Slovan Bratislava, which was played in the Slovak capital in October, was tainted by crowd violence. Sparta was subsequently fined 80,000 euros by UEFA. The Czech team is next scheduled to play Napoli in spring in Prague.
The ANO party, along with the Social Democrats and the three-way coalition
of the Greens, the Christian Democrats and Mayors and Independents, have
agreed on a division of responsibilities at Prague City Hall and on the
members of the eleven-member city council.
Adriana Krnáčová of the ruling ANO party will run for the post of mayor. The winning party will also take four seats on the council and hold the city’s finances, security, health and housing. The Social Democrats will be responsible for transport, social policy, European funds and education while the three-way Coalition will get the departments of environment, culture and infrastructure.