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.
Three contestants will be vying for the position of chairman of the Pirate
Party at the party's January statewide conference. According to Czech
Television, current Pirates leader Ivan Bartoš will be challenged by
Chamber of Deputies members Vojtěch Pikal and Mikuláš Ferjenčík.
Members were able to nominate candidates on the party's forum website
by the end of Friday.
Ivan Bartoš has led the Pirate Party since 2016, but was chairman during two stints between 2009 and 2014.
The Czech Senate wants to make changes to the amendment on the
government’s Council for European and Structural and Investment Funds.
According to a proposal made by the Senate’s Committee for Public Administration, the amendment should clearly state that the chairman or a member of the Council cannot be in conflict of interest, as defined by the European Union.
Until last December, the Council was chaired by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who, according to an EC audit, is in conflict of interest over EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert holding he founded and placed in a trust fund two years ago.
The proposal should be debated at next week’s session of the upper house.
UK journalist Misha Glenny is an expert on organised crime and cybersecurity and has written a number of books, including the hit title McMafia. He studied in Prague and did a lot of reporting from the city in the late 1980s, including during the Velvet Revolution. At present he also heads a committee guaranteeing the independence of editors and journalists at the Economia group, which publishes titles such as Hospodářské noviny and Respekt. Czech Radio’s Lenka Kabrhelová sat down with Misha Glenny recently and began by asking him about the nature
The EU representative office in Prague has confirmed receiving the final EC
audit on Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš‘ alleged conflict of interest
stemming from the multi-billion crown agro-chemical empire Agrofert he
owned and later placed in trust funds and EU subsidies to the said holding.
The audit has been sent to the Ministry for Regional Development. According to EU representatives in Prague the document is confidential.
The EC’s preliminary audit concluded that the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest and the Czech Republic may subsequently have to return some 450 million crowns in EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert business conglomerate.
Prime Minister Babiš has dismissed the claims, saying he had fully adhered to the Czech conflict of interest law.
The introduction of a new system under which if an MP becomes a minister
they can be replaced by another member of their party now depends on the
Senate. The introduction of the sliding mandate, as it is called, has the
backing of the Chamber of Deputies, Czech Television reported on Sunday.
The Senate has expressed opposition to this constitutional change but may back it in exchange for other changes. These include extending the term of Constitutional Court judges to 12 years and making it easier to file a petition against the president at the country’s highest court.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said he had asked Jaroslav Faltýnek, head of ANO’s lower house group, to undertake negotiations to push the introduction of the sliding mandate through.
Czech presidential elections are still three years away, provided Miloš Zeman finishes his second term. But candidates hoping to succeed him should already start building their “brand” at least two years before voters head to the ballot box, experts say. A new poll sheds light on the qualities Czechs want in their next head of state.
The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill that will enable Czech citizens
to communicate with state institutions electronically as of 2020.
According to the proposed law on digital services people will also no longer have to provide the same information to different institutions, and civil servants will be expected to seek it out themselves from electronic registers.
Paper forms will be preserved, mainly for the sake of senior citizens.
The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president. The process is expected to be smooth.
As the Czech nation celebrates 30 years of freedom and democracy the words of a leading Communist Party official have caused a public outcry. In an interview for Czech Radio, the party’s deputy chair, Stanislav Grospič argued that the 1968 Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia was not an invasion and that the people killed had died mostly in road accidents. While his words evoked widespread condemnation, the Communist Party has not distanced itself from the statement.
The Senate commission set up to assess the European Commission audits
concerning Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's suspected conflict of
interest says its initial findings suggest that this may be the case and
has invited the prime minister for questioning.
The commission, headed by Zdeněk Nytra from the Civic Democrats' senators' group, does not have the status of an investigative body, but was set up to monitor developments in the case and guarantee objectivity.
The two EC audits, which are both preliminary, claim that the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest due to continued influence on the agro-chemical business conglomerate Agrofert which he established and later put in trust funds in order to comply with a strict new conflict of interests law.
Prime Minister Babiš has denied any wrongdoing, saying he had fully adhered to Czech law.
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