At first glance, it seems obvious that the Czech political groupings subscribing to the ideas of President Václav Klaus and taking a critical view towards further European integration should form a coalition to improve their chances of winning seats in the lower house of Parliament in the spring 2014 contest. But who can unite them? And how?
Czech neo-nationalist Ladislav Bátora announced his resignation from the Education Ministry in October, after considerable public pressure and threats from the TOP 09 party it would leave the governing coalition unless the civil servant was removed from office. Nevertheless, MfD reports Bátora remained employed by the ministry under a new position through 2011, when it was abolished — making him eligible for a redundancy payment, which came to Kč 250,000.
The year 2011 was marked by the coalition crisis, a spate of ministers being forced to leave office, the adoption of key new laws and the obstruction of others, the ČSSD filibuster, the critiques of President Václav Klaus and the death of his predecessor, Václav Havel. But despite the political uncertainty, can 2011 really be seen as an annus horribilis?
At the launch of his latest book, European Integration without Illusions, noted euroskeptic Czech President Václav Klaus gave an interview in which he said EU fiscal integration will suppress freedom and democracy much as communism did. Meanwhile, Klaus said Angeal Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have “seized” power because EU institutions are “simply toothless” and unable to tackle the debt crisis.
Justice, Education, Interior, Health and Defense: Five ministries whose leaders are most frequently mentioned as likely candidates for the chopping block. In recent weeks, numerous politicians and state officials have told Czech Position that a Cabinet reshuffle is looming while noting that Prime Minister Petr Nečas (ODS) himself is not pushing for the dismissal of any ministers, he may be left with no choice.
The Sokolov Festival of Political Song’s annual Internet poll allows Czechs to select politicians they deem to be most, corrupt, elitist and abusive of power. The two other categories are ‘Highflyer of the Year’ and ‘Pigsty of the Year,’ which went to Radek John, chairman of the scandal-ridden Public Affairs (VV) party, and the widely opposed ODS-ČSSD marriage of convenience at Prague City Hall, respectively.
The ‘Fat Cat of the Year’ poll, conceived by the organizers of the annual satirical Festival of Political Song, is in its third year and gaining prestige. According to the award’s media partner, daily Mladá fronta dnes, the winner in 2009, Central Bohemia governor David Rath, is now leading the poll although he faces stiff competition from President Václav Klaus and Education Minister Josef Dobeš.
Ladislav Bátora, who shot to fame and infamy for his offensive remarks about TOP 09 leader and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg that sparked a government crisis, announced on Friday he was stepping down from his top post in the Ministry of Education. Bátora said he could no longer keep his word not to intervene in public life and hinted at joining a new right-wing party.
The Czech Republic is the only country in the world to have two secretaries of state for EU affairs. But for one of them to be a young man who has never been elected to an office or served as a diplomat — and with no experience of EU structures — is truly unique. What are his qualifications? His anti-EU conservative ideology and secretive close connections with PM Petr Nečas and the conservative Civic Institute.
Václav Klaus is a workaholic and homo politicus to his very core. As such, after leaving Prague Castle when his second term expires in March 2013, in all likelihood he will go right back into national politics and be far more inclined to lead a party than merely join one, writes commentator Petr Nováček. But would the “father” of the Civic Democrats (ODS) be welcomed back? Or are the Sovereignty and D.O.S.T. movements a better fit?