Political scientists say that if the president were to intervene and halt
the possible prosecution of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the move would
not affect the degree of support the prime minister enjoys.
Political scientist Lubomír Kopeček from Masaryk University in Brno says that Andrej Babiš’ supporters have ignored so many scandals surrounding the prime minister that the fact that he would have to countersign the halting of his own possible prosecution would make little difference.
Political scientist Petr Just from Prague’s Metropolitan University says the decision not to prosecute by the Prague State Attorney’s Office would work in the president's and prime minister’s favour in defending such an action.
Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček has said that any move by the president
to halt the possible prosecution of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš would be
inappropriate interference in the work of the judiciary and would violate
the principle that all citizens are equal before the law.
He did not comment on how the Social Democrats, a junior partner in the governing coalition, would respond to such a development.
Justice Minister Marie Benešová refused to comment on the president’s words or speculate about the possibility of such a thing happening.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has refused to speculate about whether he
would accept President Zeman’s gesture to halt his possible prosecution
if Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman were to invalidate the decision of
the Prague State Attorney’s Office.
If he were to accept such a solution it would mean that he himself would have to countersign the president’s order.
Besieged by journalists over the matter, Mr. Babiš said he was sorry the president had spoken as he did since it had sparked a storm of criticism based on mere speculation. “No crime was committed and I am confident I will not be charged,” he said.
The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a German Catholic religious
order’s legal complaint over its failed bid to win control of Bouzov
Castle in Moravia.
The court rejected the German order’s claim to be a legal successor to the Order of Teutonic Knights, which before World War II owned the 14th century castle.
The Czech National Heritage Institute refused to hand the castle over within the church restitution process back in 2014, arguing the law did not apply to that particular property.
The Nazis seized Bouzov Castle during the war and the Czechoslovak state confiscated it under the post-war Beneš Decrees, before the Communist February 1948 coup, the start of the decisive period set under the church property restitution law.
The order had earlier announced it would exhaust all legal possibilities to win control of the castle, including filing a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The Czech government and the country's four largest commercial banks
signed a memorandum of cooperation on Thursday to create a National
Development Fund aimed at investing in projects in infrastructure,
education and healthcare.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) had proposed creating such a fund back to counter appeals by his government partner, the Social Democrats, to introduce a bank sector tax.
Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (for ANO) said on Thursday that the Fund should be working by mid-2020 and have initial financing of 7 billion crowns.
Česká spořitelna (owned by Erste Group), Komerční banka (owned by Société Générale), CSOB (owned by KBC) and UniCredit’s Czech branch signed the memorandum to take part in the fund.
Mr Babiš said he expected other companies, not just banks, to join later.
A design by top Czech architect Eva Jiřičná for a high rise development
in Prague’s Žižkov district currently home to a former telecom building
has been rejected by local town hall councillors.
The final decision rests with the full Prague City Council. The site is located within what a Conservation Zone, where strict construction and renovation rules apply.
The conservation group Club for Ancient Prague had criticised the designs by Ms Jiřičná for three undulating high-rise apartment buildings, the largest of which would be over 100 metres high.
The Prague Prosecutor's Office has published documents regarding its
decision to halt a four-year-long investigation into suspected EU fraud by
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and members of his family.
In the 90 pages of documentation, which are in large part redacted, prosecutor Jaroslav Šaroch explains the reasoning behind his decision to end the investigation.
Mr Babiš was alleged to have illegally acquired 2 million euros worth of EU subsidies meant for small companies by temporarily changing the status of his Stork’s Nest farm and conference centre, over a decade ago.
Most opposition politicians said they respected the Office’s decision but expected to see it thoroughly justified. Among them was TOP 09 leader Jiří Pospíšil, who tweeted that that the Office has reverse itself in only 1 percent of cases.
The Post Office has again cancelled the auction of a former monastery it
owns after no bidder met the starting price of just over 353 million
The Post Office has been trying the sell the former St. Gabriel Monastery and Church of the Annunciation in Prague’s Smíchov district for years.
The monastery, completed in 1891, was designed in pseudo-Romanic style by Benedictine friars from Belgium. It served mainly Benedictine nuns until 1919, when they were forced to leave for Austria.
The Prague 4 District Court has acquitted former Communist-era secret
police (StB) official Václav Novotný of harassing two Charter 77
signatories as part of operation ‘Prevention’. The verdict is not final
and an appeal is likely.
Mr Novotný, who acknowledges having worked for the StB but denies the charges, has been accused of arranging in 1978 for two dissidents to lose their disability pensions, as part of the secret operation.
The Charter 77 signatories in question were former television editor Otta Bednářová and the wife of another journalist, Jiřina Kynclová.
Hundreds of opponents of the communist regime in Prague and the Central Bohemia were targeted in operation ‘Prevention’, which aimed to complicate their lives at work and at home.
In some cases, StB workers arranged for dissidents to be stripped of their pensions, have their driving licenses revoked or telephone lines disconnected. Many were sacked or demoted at work.