In an interview published in Mladá fronta Dnes, President Miloš Zeman
expressed serious doubt about whether Michal Šmarda will replace the
current Culture Minister Antonín Staněk. Mr. Šmarda was officially
proposed by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, but he is a nominee of the Social
Democrats, who stress their coalition treaty right to have five ministers
in the cabinet. They have threatened to resign from government if the
change does not go ahead. President Zeman, went on to say that even if the
party were to exit the coalition, he does not expect Andrej Babiš’s
government to fall. Instead he said it would only lead to a cabinet
reshuffle, with the government being supported by the Freedom and Direct
The president’s plan is now to reconcile the current culture minister with Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček by hosting a meeting between them in his Lány country residence on July 12.
The latest Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) poll shows the ANO party
of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš would win 29 percent of the vote if
elections were held now, up a percentage point since May.
The Pirate Party would get 17 percent of the vote, up 3.5 percentage points since the last poll.
In third place are the Civic Democrats (15 percent), in fourth are the Communists (9 percent) and in fifth are the Social Democrats (7.5 percent) – all of which have lost about 2 percentage points in support.
The CVVM poll was collected from 8 to 17 June, more than a week before the anti- Babiš demonstration at Letná Plain that drew nearly 300,000 protestors.
The far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy party gained 1.5 percentage points since May, at 6.5 percent.
At or below the 5 percent threshold needed to enter parliament were the Christian Democrats (5 percent), Party of Mayors and Independents (4.5 percent), Top 09 (3 percent) and Greens (1 percent).
President Miloš Zeman is due to discuss naming a new Minister of Culture
on Tuesday with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and Social Democrat
Party leader Jan Hamáček.
The current minister, Antonín Staněk, had announced in late May he would step down. He did so under pressure following protests among cultural official and figures.
They had objected to Staněk sacking the heads of the National Gallery in Prague and Museum of Art in Olomouc – without giving a proper explanation for his decision.
Thus far, President Zeman has refused to accept Staněk’s resignation and to appoint the Social Democrats’ candidate, Michal Šmarda.
The president argues Staněk should not be punished for revealing alleged economic malpractice at the Ministry of Culture.
Czech authorities said on Friday they had detected 14 cases of
salmonella-infected poultry from Poland in the past month.
In total, some 21 tons of infected meat were discovered. This includes two cases of Czech-produced meat.
Earlier this year bad Polish beef ended up in 11 countries, including the Czech Republic. In response, authorities here implemented blanket checks on imported Polish beef.
The mandatory controls ended in late March, after Warsaw guaranteed no cattle meat unfit for human consumption would reach the market.
Prime Ministers of the central European countries comprising the Visegrad
Four are in Prague on Friday to discuss Sunday’s extraordinary European
Council on Sunday, in Brussels.
Czech PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) said he and his counterparts from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary are particularly concerned as to who the next heads of the European Council, EU Commission, and central bank will be.
Earlier this week, Babiš said it was important that none of the so-called “spitzenkandidats” – leaders of the parties in the European Parliament that did best in elections in May – received majority support.
He argues Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor should not comment on political matters but rather focus on implementing European Council conclusions.
Sunday’s extraordinary meeting in Brussels comes just two days before the constituent meeting of the newly elected European Parliament.
Trains in Prague were operating on a limited schedule on Friday morning
following a breakdown of the signalling system.
The Railway Infrastructure Administration said someone had tried to steal cables connected to the system, damaging them in the process.
Trains to and from the Smíchov station were most effected. Some were not operating at all while others faced long delays.
Czech households' debts to banks and credit unions rose by 10.6
billion crowns to almost 1.684 billion in May, data published by the
central bank on Friday show.
In annual terms, debts rose by 106.6 billion crowns. Housing loans account for about three quarters of household debt.
Debts of non-financial corporations rose by more than 3.1 billion to 1.117 billion crowns in May, up 53.6 billion in annual terms.
The Czech economy grew 2.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter,
revised data published by the Czech Statistical Office on Friday show.
External demand and household consumption were the main GDP growth factors in the first quarter.
The Czech economy is likely to decelerate from 3 percent last year towards 2.5 percent in 2019 amid weaker foreign demand, analysts say.
Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková has reached the semi-final of a
Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Eastbourne for the third time in her
career. The 2017 champion and former World No. 1 needed just 54 minutes to
dismiss Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia 6-2, 6-0.
Plíšková will face Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands for a spot in the final.