If President Miloš Zeman does not act on Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s call to dismiss Finance Minister Andrej Babiš within a week, then a group of senators will take a complaint against him to the Constitutional Court, Senate speaker Milan Štěch said on Tuesday. Mr. Zeman has as yet refused to remove Mr. Babiš. Under the constitution the president must follow a PM’s instruction to dismiss a minister but does not set a time limit. However, some experts say he must do so without delay. A group of 27 members issued a similar warning on Friday.
Kateřina Valachová has announced that she will resign as Czech minister of education. The Social Democrat politician announced her decision on Tuesday afternoon, saying that she no longer wanted to give ANO’s Andrej Babiš the chance to try to draw attention away from his own problems. Mr. Babiš and others raised questions about corruption at the Ministry of Education after one of Ms. Valachová’s deputies was charged by police on suspicion of large-scale corruption. The chairman of the Czech Football Association is also in custody in connection with the case. Ms. Valachová said she would stand down by May 31.
The Czech singer Martina Bárta is set to take part in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Tuesday night. The 29-year-old will be performing the song My Turn with four backing singers from the Czech vocal group Skety. If Bárta is successful, she will go through to the final on Saturday night. No Czech singer has ever won the Eurovision.
President Miloš Zeman has reiterated that he will only dismiss ANO’s Andrej Babiš as finance minister if the coalition agreement is annulled. Speaking in Liberec on Wednesday, Mr. Zeman said that when the Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka signed the coalition deal he had given up some of his powers. Mr. Sobotka demanded last week that the president dismiss Mr. Babiš. The president says such a move would contravene the coalition agreement. He also argues that the PM cannot set a term by which he must dismiss a minister, but some constitutional experts say the he must remove a minister without delay in such circumstances. PM Sobotka has accused Mr. Zeman and Mr. Babiš of working in tandem.
Three ministers from the Social Democratic Party say they will not now take part in a visit by President Miloš Zeman to China. The minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and the minister of health, Miloslav Ludvík, announced on Tuesday that they were pulling out of the week-long trip. Mr. Chovanec and Mr. Zaorálek said they would stay in Prague in view of the current government situation. Responding to Mr. Chovanec’s announcement, the president’s spokesman said that it was very sad if he were more concerned about political intrigues than the interests of the Czech Republic. President Zeman is set to leave for China on Thursday.
Prague’s Supreme Court has lengthened the sentence of Jan Silovský, who was found guilty of attempting to join Islamic State. In an appeal hearing called by the state prosecutor’s office, judges on Tuesday gave the 22-year-old a six-year term. Earlier this year a court in Plzeň had sentenced Silovský to three years and three months in prison, making him the first Czech convicted of terrorism charges. He could have received a term of up to 12 years to life but psychiatrists said he suffered from schizophrenia, which reduced his ability to control his behavior. Judges also ruled that he should undergo psychiatric treatment.
The police have begun investigating how their own sensitive information may have reached the hands of ANO chief Andrej Babiš, the news site Neovlivni.cz reported on Tuesday. The news comes after a recording leaked on Monday appeared to show a now former Mladá fronta Dnes journalist, Marek Přibil, offering Mr. Babiš information from files and wiretaps relating to an ongoing case from the police’s organised crime squad. For his part, Mr. Babiš says Mr. Přibil had been deployed as an agent to infiltrate his MAFRA media organisation. The ANO leader has denied ordering reports damaging to his opponents in MfD (whose owner MAFRA is now in a trust), and questioned why leaks were coming out now, during a government crisis.
The Czech Republic beat Finland 4:3 after penalties at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Paris on Monday evening. Josef Jandač’s men had been losing 3:0 but notched up three goals in the third period through Roman Horák, Radko Gudas and Jan Kovář, with the second and third goals coming in just 23 seconds. That tied the game in regular time and the Czechs went on to achieve their second win in three outings in the competition.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s call on him to dismiss ANO’s Andrej Babiš as finance minister would be in contravention of the coalition agreement. He said the agreement would need to be annulled for him to take such a step. Mr. Zeman’s spokesman issued a statement to that effect after the president hosted Mr Babiš at Prague Castle on Monday. The president also said that the prime minister cannot set a term by which he must dismiss a minister. Some constitutional experts say the head of state must remove a minister without delay in such circumstances. PM Sobotka has accused Mr. Zeman and Mr. Babiš of working in tandem.