A former minister of justice, Robert Pelikán, says that Vratislav Mynář,
the head of President Miloš Zeman’s office, tried to pressure him to
intervene in a case involving Lesní správy Lány, which oversees forestry
at the president’s residence. News site iRozhlas.cz reported on Monday
that Mr. Mynář had repeatedly pushed Mr. Pelikán to file a complaint of
violation of the law in the case. The former minister rejected this call.
Police have charged a subordinate of Mr. Mynář and another man over the case, which centres on a public contract worth CZK 100 million.
iRozhlas.cz also reported that President Zeman’s right hand man had also tried unsuccessfully to pressure a later justice minister. Mr. Mynář has refused to comment.
Czech tennis player Markéta Vondroušová has shot to 16 in the world
rankings, her highest ever position. The 19-year-old climbed 22 places in
the WTA rankings after losing to Ashleigh Barty of Australia in her first
Grand Slam final at the Paris Open on Saturday.
The Czech Republic’s Karolína Plíšková remains number two in the world, while Petra Kvitova has climbed one spot to fifth.
The supreme state attorney, Pavel Zeman, says comments made by President
Miloš Zeman at the weekend indirectly confirm that his removal is being
considered. The head of state criticised the prosecutor’s stated
intention of analyzing a preliminary European Council report suggesting
that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was in conflict of interest. Critics say
that Mr. Babiš and President Zeman are in alliance.
Pavel Zeman told the Czech News Agency he would not respond to the president’s invective against him.
Mr. Babiš’s appointment as justice minister of Marie Benešová has led critics to suggest state prosecutors could be undermined. They are due to respond to a police call to charge the prime minister with the alleged abuse of EU subsidies. Ms. Benešová is also seen as being close to President Zeman.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic fell to 2.6 percent in May from 2.7
percent the previous month, according to official figures released on
Monday. Some 200,675 people were out of work in May, the lowest number
recorded since the same month in 1997.
Meanwhile, the number of vacant positions grew to almost 347,000, the Office of Labour said.
Analysts said that unemployment was close to the lowest level it could reach, with the number set to grow slightly in the summer because of new graduates.
The funeral of writer Jiří Stránský took place Prague’s Church of Our
Lady Before Týn on Monday. The mass was served by the head of the Czech
Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, who said that Mr. Stránský
had enriched Czech culture thanks to the brave life he had led.
Mr. Stránský, who was 87, spent almost a decade in Communist labour camps as a political prisoner after being convicted of “treason” in the hard-line 1950s and drew on those experiences in his writings. In the 1990s he became president of the Czech PEN Club.
June 10 marks the 77th anniversary of the destruction of the central
Bohemian village Lidice by the Nazis, in what was one of the worst
atrocities in the country’s history.
The village was razed to the ground and its 300 inhabitants, including women and children, were killed as part of reprisals for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Hedyrich.
The village of Ležáky in Eastern Bohemia suffered a similar fate just a fortnight later.
A commemorative ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the Lidice tragedy has been scheduled for June 15 at the Lidice memorial.
Deputy Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček on Sunday
met with representatives of the civic initiative Million Moments for
Democracy, which has been organizing anti-government protests around the
country in recent weeks.
Mr. Hamáček met with the protest leaders after Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, against whom the protests are primarily directed, refused to do so. He later wrote on Twitter that the meeting had focussed around guarantees for the independence of the judiciary and the discussed amendment to the law on state attorneys, which would limit their time in office.
Demonstrators have been calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the dismissal of Marie Benešová, who was appointed to the post of justice minister just a day after the police proposed charging the prime minister with EU subsidy fraud.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ ANO party would still win general elections
in the country, despite a slight drop in support, according to a poll for
Czech Television conducted by the Kantar agency.
According to the May survey ANO would gain 27.5 percent of the vote, down by 2.5 percent on the previous month, the Pirate Party would come second with 17.5 percent of the vote, the centre-right Civic Democrats third, with 12.5 percent.
The only other parties which would cross the 5 percent margin needed to win seats in the lower house are the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party, the Mayors and Independents, the Communist Party and the Social Democrats.
A flash poll conducted by the Median agency on the anti-Babiš protests
that have been taking place in Prague and other big cities in recent weeks,
suggests that while a third of respondents support them, a fifth of those
polled disagree with them.
Ninety percent of respondents said they had registered the protests, 59 percent said they were not particularly interested in them, while 25 percent said they followed them with interest. Six percent of respondents said they had taken part in the demonstrations at least once.
Thirty-four percent of respondents said they approve of the protests, 26 percent of those polled said the demonstrations were legitimate but they did not agree with the sentiments voiced there, 22 percent found them unjustified and 18 percent had no opinion on the matter.