The owner and chief presenter of the country’s most controversial television channel, Jaromír Soukup, has announced the creation of his own political movement. While it is not yet clear in which elections he intends to run, the move is expected to shake up the Czech anti-establishment political scene quite a bit.
A new amendment proposed by the Social Democrats seeks to remove slander
from the list of criminal acts. The bill, which has also received the
approval of government, will be discussed in Parliament later this month.
The Social Democrats have defended the move as a way to relieve the police of unnecessary investigations, further state that citizens’ honour and reputation are protected by the new Civil Code. Some opposition politicians say the move is unsystematic.
Slander investigations relating to politicians have received wide coverage in the media in the past.
Social Democrat MP and Former Interior Minister Milan Chovanec will give up
his seat in the lower house of parliament by the end of March, Czech
Television reported on Sunday.
He made the statement at a regional conference of the Social Democratic Party in Pilsen on Sunday. He said that he didn’t agree with the party’s participation in the ANO-led government.
Mr Chovanec failed to show up for a vote of confidence in a coalition government comprising his party and ANO last July, saying he could not raise his hand for the alliance for reasons of conscience.
Czech Communists are to hold a protest at which participants will wear
high-visibility yellow vests in central Prague on January 26, the news
website Lidovky.cz reported. The Communist Party and other groups have
called the demonstration against the high cost of housing, water,
electricity and gas.
A representative of the Prague branch of the Communist Party said they would not pretend they had not taken inspiration from France, where “yellow vest” protests – initially against a rise in duties on diesel – have been taking place since the middle of November.
The youngest Czech deputy in the Czech lower house Dominik Feri (22) from
TOP 09 has appeared on Politico’s list of 28 people who are shaping,
shaking and stirring Europe.
The people listed are divided into three categories :doers, dreamers and disruptors. Dominik Feri appears eighth on the list of dreamers.
Dominik Feri, who was on the local council of his home town Teplice at the age of 18,won a seat in the lower house in last year’s parliamentary elections. He is the youngest ever MP in the country’s history.
Marian Jurečka has announced his intention to run for the post of chairman
of the Christian Democrats at a congress in March. The former minister of
agriculture informed his party’s members that he would stand in an email,
Mr. Jurečka, who is the Christian Democrats’ first deputy leader, hopes to replace current chairman Pavel Bělobrádek, who had previously said he would not seek re-election. Jan Bartošek and Marek Výborný are also challenging for the leadership of the opposition grouping.
The chairman of the opposition Civic Democrats, Petr Fiala, says Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš has so many personal and family problems that he is
unable to concentrate on serving the country. He told Saturday’s edition
of newspaper Právo that recent events mean that the Czech Republic has
moved a step closer to early elections.
The Civic Democrats were one of a number of opposition parties that tabled a no-confidence vote in the ANO-led government after Mr. Babiš’s son sparked a scandal by saying he had been taken to Crimea to “disappear” during an investigation involving the PM and alleged corruption.
Mr. Fiala told Právo the defeat of the no-confidence vote had not been a foregone conclusion. He said the junior party in the coalition, the Social Democrats, had displayed cowardice by not taking part in the show of hands.
The Social Democrats have also pledged to work to dissolve the lower house in certain circumstances and this is reason to believe the current government cannot last much longer, Mr. Fiala said.
Government leaders ANO would have won elections in November with 29.5
percent of the vote, virtually the same as they achieved in the last
general elections, suggests a freshly released CVVM poll. Most respondents
answered the survey prior to November 12, when a scandal surrounding ANO
leader Andrej Babiš’s son broke.
The Civic Democrats placed second in the poll on 14.5 percent, just ahead of the Czech Pirate Party on 14.0 percent. Some 10.0 percent of those surveyed would have cast their ballots for the Communists, with 9.0 percent backing the Social Democrats, the junior party in the governing coalition. Freedom and Direct Democracy would achieve 7.5 percent, the poll indicated.
After more than a week of political uncertainty regarding the fate of the Czech government, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, the Social Democrats, announced they would allow the government to survive a motion of no-confidence on Friday by abstaining from the vote. The decision was attacked by the opposition parties as “cowardly” and “self-serving”.
Social Democrat MPs will not be present for Friday’s scheduled
no-confidence vote in the government led by ANO party chairman Andrej
Babiš, the ČTK news agency reports.
In total only 92 MPs have said they will not back the government while 101 votes are needed for the move to pass, so a walk-out by the Social Democrats is a symbolic move that will not change the outcome.
Social Democrats chairman Jan Hamáček has favours remaining in the coalition government with ANO but has suggested that Mr. Babiš could go as prime minister, a move supported by the Prague branch of the Social Democrats.
Mr Babiš has been embroiled in scandal since his son said he had wanted him to “disappear” during an ongoing criminal investigation into the prime minister’s alleged illegal use of EU subsidies that went to the Stork’s Next complex near Prague.
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