Civic Democrat (ODS) deputy chairman Pavel Blažek is set to be named the new justice minister on Tuesday, less than a week after fellow party member Jiří Pospíšil was unexpectedly sacked for alleged poor financial management.
Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil (ODS) was sacked without warning — and apparent provocation. It seems Prime Minister Petr Nečas caved in to pressure from those within his party (and the ‘godfathers’ behind them) who fear an effective prosecution service. But the public smell a rat, and this is the biggest mistake of Nečas’ political career thus far. Once seen as ‘Mr Clean,’ he is now thought to have dirtied his hands.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas (ODS) told a news conference on Wednesday he had ousted Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil he had lost confidence in his fellow party member’s ability to manage his ministry and its finances, over a request for an extra Kč 1 billion for the Prison Service at a time of belt-tightening. But sources say it was Pospíšil’s shake-up of the judiciary system and failure to quickly appoint a top prosecutor to Nečas’ liking that led to his sacking.
Chief Prague Prosecutor Vlastimil Rampula will again be removed from office following a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) on Tuesday in favor of a cassation complaint by Czech Minister of Justice Jiří Pospíšil, who charged the top prosecutor had held up key corruption investigations and mishandled a major privatization case, costing the state tens of billions in damages.
The situation in Czech prisons has long been tense and threatens to lead to full-blown riots. The main problems are overcrowding, a lack of funding and the expected amnesty in connection with the election of a new head of state, after President Václav Klaus steps down in March 2013. Czech Position commentator and security expert Zdeněk Ondráček examines the dismal state of the nation’s prisons.
The Czech government has proposed clamping down on anonymous ownership of companies through the controversial use of “bearer shares”; if signed into law, the draft proposal agreed by the cabinet on Wednesday would require the beneficial owners of firms to register them with the stock exchange or financial offices.
Senator Jiří Dienstbier (Social Democrats, ČSSD) has topped the list of most popular Czech politician since September, with more than half of those polled saying they have a “somewhat” or “very” favorable opinion of him — which bodes well for his likely bid for the presidency next spring, when the first direct elections to choose a head of state are held.
A political protester who has become a Czech hero for his stand against a jail sentence in the wake of defacing election campaign posters now faces new charges for going under cover to stay out of prison.
The Supreme Court has lifted the prison sentence on a Czech bus driver who altered and made comments on political posters after he refused to comply with part of his initial punishment as it looks into the case.
Czech Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil (Civic Democrats, ODS) plans to lodge a complaint against the conviction of Roman Smetana, the bus driver from Olomouc who wrote graffiti on political campaign posters but refused to accept his action qualified as a criminal act. Pospíšil’s move comes following public outcry and criticism from the watchdog Czech Helsinki Commission for Human Rights.