The Civic Democrats and the Mayors and Independents gained 10 and seven seats, respectively, in elections to one-third of seats in the Senate that concluded at the weekend. In stark contrast, governing parties ANO and the Social Democrats won only one mandate apiece. Though ANO’s poor showing has vexed leader Andrej Babiš, the outcome was not unexpected, says political scientist Petr Just.
The government's legislative proposals, especially in the filed of
social policy, are likely to be rejected more frequently than before after
the newly formed Senate, Deputy Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader
Jan Hamáček said on Sunday in a debate programme on Czech Television.
The Civic Democratic party have emerged as the biggest winners of the elections to a third of seats in the Senate, which took place on Friday and Saturday. Ten of the party’s 11 candidates secured a seat, bringing the party total in the 81-member Senate to 16.
The party of Mayors and Independents, or STAN, won seven seats, increasing their overall number of senators to 17 and forming the largest senators’ group in the upper chamber.
A “Friends of Tibet” group has just been established by fifty deputies and senators in the Czech Parliament. The news was announced on Tuesday at the Forum 2000 conference in Prague. The group, established by the Pirate Party along with the Civic and Christian Democrats and TOP09 aims to focus on human rights issues as well as environmental and cyber protection.
The divisive chairman of the lower house’s Security Committee, Radek
Koten of Freedom and Direct Democracy, received classified category
security clearance last week, the head of his party’s deputies club,
Radim Fiala, said on Tuesday. Mr. Fiala also hit out at MPs who questioned
Mr. Koten’s credentials for the position over his activities on social
Mr. Koten had promised to acquire the clearance when he was elected to head the Security Committee in November. His application for classified-level clearance means the committee will not have access to documents deemed top secret.
The Freedom and Direct Democracy politician allegedly joined Facebook groups calling for a referendum on the Czech Republic leaving the EU, referring to Islam as a fatal evil and naming Russia as the Czech Republic’s ally. He said he did not administer his Facebook page.
The Supreme Court has ruled that a regional court acted illegally six years ago in authorising the wiretapping of investigative journalist Janek Kroupa, who was digging into alleged corruption in a multi-billion crown military tender. The ruling further sets important precedents in requiring judges to explicitly justify any police surveillance of journalists, which infringes upon their right to protect their sources and the Constitutional right to freedom of expression.
Twenty-eight senators have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Andrej
Babis urging him to take steps enabling the Czech Republic to admit 50
Syrian orphans from overcrowded camps in Greece.
The signatories of the letter say that orphans in need deserve unconditional and immediate help and the Czech Republic should be among the countries offering this kind of assistance.
Among the signatories is the Speaker of the upper chamber Milan Štěch of the Social Democrats.
The prime minister earlier rejected the idea of taking in 50 orphans saying the country was not ready to accept migrants and this case was no different.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ wife Monika has resigned from the board of
Imoba, the company that owns the Stork’s Nest farm and conference centre,
over which her husband faces charges of EU subsidy fraud, the daily E15
reported on Monday.Monika Babišova left the board at her own request
without giving any reasons.
Prime Minister Babiš is suspected of having manipulated the status of the Stork’s Nest farm in order to gain a 50 million crown EU subsidy for the company which would otherwise have been out of reach.
Although Babiš has denies any wrongdoing, Imoba recently returned the subsidy in full.
Czech police have charged four suspects with corruption over a contract to
restore the Kuks castle in East Bohemia. The historical Baroque complex was
restored between 2013 and 2015 at a cost of more than 322 million crowns
(12 million euros). Most of the money came from EU funds.
A police spokesperson said the tender offer was allegedly written to match the winning bid by a consortium comprised of the Hochtief construction company and the Gema Art Group. If found guilty, the suspects face up to eight years in prison.
According to the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ), three major Czech hospitals
bought medical supplies and medicines without seeking competitive offers
between 2014 and 2016, in violation of the public procurement law.
Inspectors found that during that period Brno University Hospital (FNB), Motol Hospital (FNM) and the Central Military Hospital (ÚVN) also paid wildly different amounts for identical drugs and devices purchased from the same supplier.
Apart from examining the procurement process, the Office is also examining the pay-out of bonuses to the respective hospital directors.
Government leaders ANO would have won elections last month on 28 percent of
the vote, suggests an opinion poll carried out by the Kantar TNS agency for
Czech Television. That figure is less than two points below what the party
received in October’s elections.
The Czech Pirate Party, who got under 11 percent in October would now receive 15 percent, the survey indicates. Thirteen percent of respondents in the poll said they would vote for the Civic Democrats.
The Communists and Freedom and Direct Democracy would receive 8 percent of the vote, the poll suggests, while the Social Democrats and the Mayors and Independents would get 6.5 percent, the Christian Democrats would get 5.5 percent and TOP 09 5 percent.
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