Politics & Policy|Society
Brian Kenety|15.06.2012

Church restitution bill final reading Friday

The lower house of the Czech parliament is due on Friday to hold a final reading of the widely unpopular church restitution bill that would see the return of around half the property the former communist regime confiscated from the Catholic Church and other religious group, worth some Kč 75 billion, and a phased cash payout of Kč 59 billion.

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Politics & Policy|Society|Foreign Affairs
Martin Shabu|22.05.2012

Czech spy service faces budget cut – or liquidation?

The draft budget proposed by the Ministry of Finance envisions reducing allocations to the state intelligence service (BIS) by Kč 250 million over the next two years — a drastic reduction that former interior minister MP František Bublan (Social Democrats, ČSSD) warns could lead to the spy service’s liquidation.

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Politics & Policy
Ondřej Koutník|19.03.2012

Sen. Dienstbier’s guerrilla campaign rattles Prague Social Democrats

A pamphlet calling for a far reaching shake-up of how the Social Democrat (ČSSD) conducts business in its Prague chapter has been viewed as part of a bid by Senator Jiří Dienstbier, a party deputy chairman, to push his national aspirations — including his bid to be the ČSSD choice to become head of state. He dismisses the accusations and isn’t standing in a looming Prague leadership contest; still, the manifesto shows where the main opposition party is heading.

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Politics & Policy|Society
Petr Matějček|05.03.2012

Strange Czech bedfellows: What about the pirates?

Protest happenings, demonstrations, seminars, interviews with journalists, TV appearances, debates with politicians – the Czech Pirate Party (ČPS) is experiencing an unprecedented boom. The commotion around the controversial international anti-piracy agreement ACTA has ensured the Pirates a place in the limelight. They say politics make for strange bedfellows; which parties are open to cooperating with the ČPS?

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Politics & Policy|Society
Tom Jones|15.02.2012

Czech premier, deputy PM trumpet anti-corruption ‘success’

PM Petr Nečas (ODS) and deputy PM for the anti-corruption strategy Karolína Peake (VV) held a press conference on Tuesday to announce successes in the government’s battle against graft, resulting in ‘tens of billions’ in savings. The opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD), however, point to the country’s drop in transparency rankings and claim the government is merely trying to cover up its failures.

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Politics & Policy
Martin Shabu|23.01.2012

Public Affairs sharpens shoulders for key role in police, prosecution reform

A battle is being fought over who takes leadership of the Czech government’s reform of the police and state prosecution service. Three different bids were made last week for a share of the action, headed by deputy prime minister Karolína Peake’s  (Public Affairs, VV) bid to put herself in charge of a government working group to plan the reform agenda. The proposal, putting the interior and justice ministers in second place, will resurface this week but its chances are considered slim.

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Politics & Policy|Companies
Brian Kenety|22.11.2011

Ex-Czech minister turned Slavia boss faces financial vetting by MPs

For the first time in its history, the Czech lower house of Parliament’s mandate and immunity committee will examine the assets of a former colleague — Aleš Řebíček, the ODS minister of transport (2006–2009) who made a fortune in the sector and later bought the Slavia Prague football club. Řebíček told Slavia fans he sold his Viamont stake for Kč 750 mln; the figure doesn’t jibe with his official declarations.

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Politics & Policy|Society
Tom Jones|21.10.2011

Czech elite police taken off probe of Kalousek, Penta boss

Czech public prosecutors have taken the highly unusual step of taking the police anticorruption unit off a high-profile corruption investigation. The prosecution service says the step has been taken to ensure the integrity of the investigation, but the shadow interior minister suspects foul play.

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Politics & Policy|Economy
Martin Shabu|30.09.2011

Czech National Bank at center of debate over direct presidential elections

Far from increasing the powers of the Czech presidency, the escalating debate about new legislation allowing for direct elections of the head of state have actually been accompanied by sugestions that the president's powers be curbed. The main opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD) have made the demand in several areas, perhaps the most important being the power to appoint the Czech National Bank (ČNB) board.

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Politics & Policy
Brian Kenety|27.05.2011

Sobotka forms new ČSSD shadow gov’t

Bohuslav Sobotka, chairman of the main opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD), has formed a new shadow government, including household names like David Rath (health) and Zdeněk Škromach (labor and social affairs) but without the participation of Milan Urban (trade and industry) or Brno mayor Roman Onderka — not to mention former party leader Jiří Paroubek.

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