Leading TOP 09 member Petr Gazdík says the coalition will face a major problem if Lenka Bradáčová is not named Prague State Prosecutor. The comment comes amid serious tensions over the prime minister’s sudden dismissal of Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil last week. Prime Minister Nečas cited financial mismanagement as the reason for the sacking; pundits and much of the public however believe the move was meant to block the imminent appointment of Bradáčová, a highly respected prosecutor and anti-corruption crusader. Speaking to the news site iDnes, Mr Gazdík also cast doubt on the prime minister’s rationale for the dismissal but said he did not believe the Civic Democratic Party, of which the PM is chairman, would let the situation become intolerable for the coalition by impeding Bradáčová’s appointment.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Civic Democratic Party have released a statement in support of Prime Minister Nečas’s decision to sack the justice minister. A majority of the party’s leading members signed the statement, which said the prime minister’s confidence in his ministers was key to the government’s ability to act, and that he is fully entitled to dismiss someone on the basis of lack of trust. Referring to Mr Pospíšil’s popularity and the protests that followed his sacking, the members said that no politician’s media popularity was a mark of his managerial ability. The document was not signed by the party’s presidential candidate, Přemysl Sobotka, who said he could not express “full support” when he did not yet know the background information.
The energy company ČEZ has released the names of some of the winners of some of its tenders since 2006, after being criticised for not having done so. The daily Hospodářské noviny accused the power giant of paying out 5.54 billion crowns in closed tenders and ignoring a court ruling that said the state-owned company must provide such information. Hospodářské noviny says ČEZ awarded suppliers directly in 82% of 337 tenders. The anti-corruption organisation Pink Panther also accuses ČEZ of giving more than 300 million crowns in sponsor gifts over the last three years while refusing to say where the money went.
The last injured passengers from last weekend’s tragic bus accident in Croatia returned to the Czech Republic on Saturday. A special army plane was sent to Zadar for one hospitalised woman and then to Zagreb for two twin sisters, one of whom suffered the worst injuries of the group. The rest of the survivors were brought home last week; three of them remain in hospital. The Czech tour bus hit a column on a highway in central Croatia last Saturday before flipping over. Of the 51 people on board eight were killed. It is believed that the driver, who also died, fell asleep at the wheel
Online pirating in the Czech Republic has caused damages of 2.6 billion crowns, according to representatives of the audio-visual industry taking part in a discussion on the issue at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival on Saturday. According to the industry, the estimated damages that distributors, producers and artists in the Czech Republic incurred last year amounted to 610 million crowns, while servers offering a repository for illegal access to audio-visual materials earned 140 million. American director Taylor Hackford said online piracy was nothing more than theft and hurt primarily filmmakers starting out.
Preliminary police statistics suggest that 63 people lost their lives on Czech roads since the beginning of the month, making June the deadliest month of the year. Not including the final weekend, the month has already surpassed the same period last year, when 61 people were killed. The first summer month is generally a high-accident period. The current statistic, while high, still comes nowhere near the record from June, 2003, when 147 died on the road.
The Armenian national air carrier is accusing the company Czech Airlines Technics, which handles public aircraft maintenance, of holding one of its planes unlawfully. The Armenian media is said to have reported that an Airbus A320 was being held for unpaid bills, while carrier Armavia told the local media that the plane was damaged in a hangar fire and the Czech side was demanding 800 thousand dollars, which it refused to pay. Czech Airlines Technics however says the plane is in perfect order, as Armavia saw for itself, but could not provide further details, adding only that they were not in any breach of contract.
More than six hundred people gathered in the centre of Prague on Thursday
evening to protest the unexpected dismissal of justice minister Jiří
Pospíšil earlier this week; more than 200 people attended a similar
rally in Brno. Among those present were former constitutional court judge
Wágnerová, the leader of the Green Party Ondřej Liška, judge Vojtěch
Cepl and the head of the Czech branch of Transparency International David
Ondračka. The unprecedented show of public support for a dismissed
minister is related to broad disbelief regarding the official reasons
The prime minister, who cited mismanagement and budgetary issues as the reasons for Pospíšil’s dismissal, is suspected of having acted under pressure from powerful interest groups who fear an anti-corruption crusade launched by the Prague State Attorney’s Office. The former justice minister was sacked with unprecedented speed just as he was about to decide on the appointment of a highly-respected and scrupulously honest prosecutor to the post of Prague High State Attorney.
The state of human rights worsened in the Czech Republic in 2011, according to a report released on Friday by the Czech Helsinki Committee. The report cited government austerity measures impacting seniors, the unemployed and socially-weaker families as a factor. Also underlined are an apparent drop in the integration of Romany children at schools, a rise in the number of attacks against gays and lesbians, and overcrowding in prisons. The committee’s Anna Šabatová told the media that regarding austerity measures the worsening was not just in the cuts themselves but an apparent “disinterest” on the part of politicians. She stressed that, in her view, an “awakening” of civic society in the country was one of the few positive developments in 2011.
President Václav Klaus on Friday named Major General Petr Pavel the new chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, replacing the outgoing Vlastimil Picek. The new head officially takes up the post on July 1. General Pavel has outlined as one of his main priorities the need to uphold the army’s current level of efficiency.