Czech MPs have elected Stanislav Křeček as the country’s next
ombudsman. A former Social Democratic Party MP and deputy ombudsman, Mr.
Křeček, who is 81, will replace Anna Šabatová when her six-year term
ends next week. The new public advocate was elected by 91 of 175 deputies
in a secret ballot in the 200-seat lower house.
Mr. Křeček says he will defend the rights of the majority population and has said for instance that Romanies should take care of their own rights. Opposition parties have criticised his election, with the leader of TOP 09, Markéta Pekarová-Adamová saying he would debase the office of ombudsman.
Supporters of Mr. Křeček, who was nominated by President Miloš Zeman, say he is familiar with the institution, having previously worked there, and will help return it to its original mission.
Marián Jurečka has been elected chairman of the Christian Democrats at a
party congress in Prague on Saturday. Mr Jurečka, former agriculture
minister, received 205 out of 357 votes. Šárka Jelínková was elected
first deputy chair.
Unlike his main rival for the post, Jan Bartošek, the new chairman is reserved about possible cooperation with the current opposition parties and has not categorically ruled out collaboration with the ruling ANO party.
Speaking to delegates after his election, Mr Jurečka said the Czech Republic needs people who want children. He also said he wanted to focus on the problem of housing shortage.
The outgoing leader of the Christian Democrats, Marek Výborný, who has been in the post for less than a year, has stepped down following his wife’s sudden death in late September.
The speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera has died at the age of 72, a
spokesperson for the upper house reported on Monday. Mr. Kubera was
reported to have been unexpectedly taken ill on his way to work and died
shortly after in hospital. Jaroslav Kubera was elected head of the Senate
in November of 2018. In previous years he served as mayor of Teplice (1994
Tributes are pouring in for the seasoned politician from across the political spectrum. Jaroslav Kubera was a fine man with a great sense of humour. When he took the helm in the Senate he gave things new dynamics, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš wrote on Twitter, extending heartfelt condolences to Jaroslav Kubera’s family.
President Miloš Zeman said via his spokesman: Although we had differences of opinion, I considered Jaroslav Kubera a friend. The news of his death touched me deeply.
The head of the Civic Democrats Petr Fiala, Kubera’s own party, said Kubera was a good and honest man, a defender of freedom and common sense.
The head of the centre-right TOP 09 party Markéta Adamova said Kubera would be remembered as a straightforward politician who always spoke his own mind. I did not always agree with him, but his attitude commanded respect, Adamova said.
MP Marian Jurečka, who is standing for chairman of the opposition
Christian Democrats, has poured cold water on the idea that an alliance of
centre-right parties could jointly contest the next Czech general
elections. Speaking in Monday’s edition of the newspaper Právo, he said
he did not wish to give voters false hopes.
Mr. Jurečka said he had experience of a coalition with the Mayors and Independents and that while the goal was noble the alliance had run up against electoral and party financing legislation. Unless the law is changed, the idea of such a coalition is doomed, he said.
At present elections in the Czech Republic usually take place across two days. That looks likely to end, however, with the Ministry of the Interior readying legislation for one-day polling. A new survey suggests the majority of voters would welcome the change – though opinion is divided on what day of the week is best.
Nearly 1 in 6 Czechs would prefer voting be held on a single day, according
to a new Median poll conducted for Czech Radio. Currently, elections are
held on Friday afternoons and on Saturdays until 2 pm.
Roughly half of those polled said they would prefer to vote on Saturdays, and just under 7 percent said they would prefer elections be held on Sundays.
The government is currently working on electoral reform, due to be implemented ahead of the 2021 parliamentary elections.
In addition to possibly introducing a single-day ballot, mail-in or absentee voting is also being addressed.
Pensioners in the Czech Republic will see an increase in their monthly
old-age pensions by 6.7 percent on average, which amounts to around 900
crowns, as of January 2020.
The hike is higher by about 200 crowns than the increase that the pension law would normally allow, based on salary growth and inflation. It is the second hike in succession as the government strives to bring pensions faster to a higher level.
The Social Democrats of the ruling coalition, who hold the Labour and Social Affairs portfolio, say they want pensions to reach 50% of the average wage by the end of the government’s term in 2021.
A new Kantar CZ opinion poll suggests the Tricolour party of Václav Klaus Jr. would take 6.5 percent of the vote in a general election. It is the first time such a survey has put the conservative grouping, which was launched in June, above the 5 percent threshold needed to enter the Chamber of Deputies. I asked political scientist Petr Just which other parties were likely to be losing voters to Tricolour.
The new conservative Tricolour party established by Václav Klaus Jr. this
year would cross the five-percent threshold needed to win seats in the
Chamber of Deputies, according to the latest poll carried out by Kantar
Support for the ruling ANO party dropped by three percentage points in
November to 28.5 percent.
The centre-right Civic Democrats came third with 14,5 percent, up by two percentage points. Meanwhile the opposition Pirate Party has dropped to the fourth place and is currently polling at 13.5 percent.
Jan Hamáček, leader of the Social Democrats, a junior party in the ruling
coalition, has said his party will not be taking part in a meeting called
by the opposition Pirate Party in response to the EC audit alleged to have
confirmed that the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest.
The opposition centre-right parties are seeking coordinated action in response to the news and are calling for the audit to be made public.
The Social Democrats are refusing to be drawn into the dispute, with Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček telling journalists that the audit is primarily the problem of the prime minister’s ANO party.
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