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.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš boasts that his government has achieved an unprecedented level of investment and motorway construction. Meanwhile, a survey by domestic watchdog Hlídač státu has underscored the sluggish pace of that construction over the past 15 years compared to that of comparable EU member states.
The president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, tried to influence the decisions of judges in key courts, according to weekly Respekt, which cited a number of magistrates. Mr. Mynář has released a statement denying the allegation, insisting he merely informed judges of President Miloš Zeman’s opinion. However, legal experts have condemned his efforts as highly inappropriate.
After months of debate, the coalition government has agreed in principle to provide free school lunches to children from the “neediest” families enrolled in nursery and primary. But the ANO and Social Democrat parties have yet to agree which families are “poor” enough to qualify, or when to implement the change.
When Andrej Babiš’s government published its manifesto in June 2018, it vowed to come up with new measures to combat corruption, including laws protecting whistleblowers and the regulation of lobbying. However, some of the country’s leading anti-corruption NGOs say the ANO-led government have been slow to deliver on those promises.
Not since 2013 has a seated Czech president addressed the nation on New Year’s Day: the current head of state, Miloš Zeman, has taken to delivering an address on the day after Christmas. This year, for the first time, the heads of both houses of parliament have taken up the mantle, calling for greater civility in 2019.