The proposal for ANO member of parliament Ivan Pilný to become the new finance minister replacing Andrej Babiš was forwarded to President Miloš Zeman on Thursday, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on his Twitter account. He added that ANO’s environment minister Richard Brabec would be nominated a deputy prime minister. Sobotka announced on Wednesday that Pilný was a suitable choice as new finance minister, opening the way for the ongoing government crisis to be solved if the changes are accepted by the head of state.
Early problems in the Cabinet appeared over Ivan Pilný’s nomination as finance minister with the head of the junior coalition party, the Christian Democrats, saying that he did not expect anything good. Pavel Bělobrádek, who is tasked with leading the government’s research and innovation drive, was apparently offended by previous remarks from Pilný that research was ‘a black hole.’ Bělobrádek is currently waiting for government approval for the research budget for 2018 to be increased to 36.2 billion crowns, around 3.5 billion more than this year.
The European Parliament has confirmed that it has scheduled a debate on the possible abuse of the media in the Czech Republic on June 1. The debate is not expected to conclude with a final resolution. The debate has been sparked in part by the release of tapes purportedly featuring ANO leader Andrej Babiš and a journalist about the release of material to his Czech newspapers discrediting other politicians. The European Commission would normally be expected to take a position over the issue. Babiš owns two of the country’s biggest national newspapers as well as the country’s biggest commercial radio station. The tapes appear to discredit his pledge that his does not involve himself in editorial coverage.
The Czech-based worldwide computer anti-virus firm Avast said that it boosted 2016 revenues to 714 million US dollars following its merger with fellow anti-virus firm AVG. The company is targeting revenues this year of 760 million dollars. Avast is still not the world number one for earnings in the anti-virus and computer protection sector, Symantec has that honour. Bosses of the Prague-based company say they could overtake that company within a few years. Avast expects the merger with AVG to be fully wound up this year.
The head of the Czech Football Association, Miroslav Pelta, will not be released from custody soon as an investigation in suspected fraud widens, according to Prague’s supreme attorney Lenka Bradáčová. She told public broadcaster Czech Television that a series of witnesses still needed to be interviewed with the investigation branching out into new areas. One of those is possible subsidies given by the Ministry of Education to the Hodonín football club under pressure from the football association. A link with energy company and Hodonín sponsor, MND, is also being probed. The company denies any involvement in corruption. Police say its almost certain Pelta will not be free in time to take part in the election to top football association posts at the end of June.
In football, Zlín have won the Czech top cup competition with a 1:0 win against second division Opava. The sole goal of the game was struck in the 20th minute by midfielder Robert Batolomeu. Last autumn Batolomeu was playing in the second division. Zlín won the equivalent of the current MOL Cup in 1970. The win guarantees the club a place in the first round of next season’s Europa League competition.
The weather on Friday should be sunny across most of the country with some clouds in the west and south. Top temperatures will range between 25 and 29 degrees Celsius.