Czech economist Vladimír Dlouhý, the nation’s very first minister of industry and trade under then Prime Minister Václav Klaus (now serving his final term as head of state), will run for the presidency as an independent. But the advisor to Goldman Sachs in Central Europe must know there is no chance of a sudden wave of public support sending him to Prague Castle. So why has Dlouhý, a former communist, tossed his hat in the proverbial ring?
A third member of the Czech police unit for combating organized crime (ÚOOZ) is set to be charged with illegally gathering information. Kateřina Varvařovská, who has been suspended from her current position as elite detective with the Central Bohemia region’s police force, faces abuse of office charges, Mladá fronta dnes report. Those wiretapped claim business rival ABL — founded by de facto Public Affairs party (VV) leader Vít Bárta — was behind the plot.
Two weeks before President Václav Klaus on Valentine’s Day published the names of 14 people he had decided to grant clemency, Czech Position and several other media received an anonymous message in which the author said he was filing a criminal complaint about an alleged payment of a bribe “in relation to a certain Mr. Malina.” Given the controversy surrounding Klaus’ latest pardons, we decided to verify the authenticity of the anonymous message.
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.
Agrofert boss and founder Andrej Babiš gave an interview this week to business daily Hospodářské noviny in which he declared that corruption in the Czech Republic had surpassed “all bearable limits” — and went on to name names, even implicating President Václav Klaus’ underlings at Prague Castle. Why is the billionaire speaking out only now? Some say he plans to enter politics on an anti-corruption ticket.
Václav Klaus’ second presidential term ends in 2013, and according to a new poll, 28 percent of Czechs think the head of state should seek reelection in direct elections, while 15 percent of respondents said he should return to the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) he co-founded, and 12 percent would like him to establish a new right-wing conservative party. Some 44 percent say Klaus should leave politics.
Let’s not delude ourselves: The most powerful players in Czech political chess are Václav Klaus and Miroslav Kalousek. We can only guess how many moves ahead the kings may be planning, but their opening moves are clear. Kalousek of the center-right TOP 09 senses grandmaster Klaus is behind several moves, though he may not be quite decided as to which team he will play for. Maybe he’ll form a new one.