Far from being a unifying event, the Civic Democrats’ (ODS) recent Moravian–Silesian regional congress highlighted divisions in the main government party — especially opposition to one of PM Petr Nečas’ favored protégés in the region, Pavel Drobil, an ex-environment minister who resigned under allegations of corruption. The rift may hurt Nečas’ chances to be reelected ODS leader this winter.
Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has climbed the first rung on his stated path up the Civic Democrat (ODS) party hierarchy by becoming leader of the Prague chapter of the party with his supporters getting a clean sweep of the deputy chairman posts as well. The vote also represents a boost for PM Petr Nečas, the ODS chairman, as he looks to hold onto the leadership.
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.
Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (Civic Democrats, ODS) this week wrote a letter to fellow members in the center-right party’s Prague chapter in which he called for a complete overhaul of its leadership. Svoboda has made no secret that he would like to be at the top of the party’s most influential regional organization as its chairman, but for now is keeing the question of possible vice-chairmen under wraps.
The main opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD) are taking the lead with a proposal to limit the extremely high cost of Czech election campaigns while the government coalition prefers pushing ahead with its own initiative, although coalition parties seem far from united on what changes should be sought. The result is that Senate and regional elections this year will continue according to the much criticized old rules with the risk that they will stay in place for the forseeable future.
Frequent reshuffles of executive posts are not just the domain of embattled Education Minister Josef Dobeš (TOP 09). Within a year and a half the Interior Ministry saw, in addition to two ministers, also the replacement of three deputy ministers, four department directors and five section heads — all responsible for EU structural funds. The ministry, led by Jan Kubice (unaffiliated) is therefore in for some more trouble.
The new look coalition in command of Prague City Hall has cast out unwanted supervisory board members from the supervisory board of municipal waste company Pražské služby. The main casualties of the new broom are ODS members opposed to mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, former coalition partners from the Social Democrats (ČSSD) and Natland Group, which refused to come clean on its share stake ownership.
Prague City Hall has pumped up the pressure on financial group Natland to come clean on the owners of its minority stake in muncipal waste company Pražské služby. Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (Civic Democrat, ODS) is warning that the group will lose its seat on the waste company’s supervisory board unless it lifts its veil of secrecy, with a far reaching overhaul of the Pražské služby board being prepared at an extraordinary general meeting.
The best formula for good diplomatic talks is to leave awkward issues off the agenda. That, at least, appears to have been the message from the recent meeting between Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas and his Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Azarov. No mention was made of the multi-million debt owed to Prague for constructing a gas pipeline across the former Soviet Union.
The Czech Republic’s reputation has been tarnished by the judiciary branch’s failure to cooperate with the Swiss investigation into the massive asset-stripping of mining group MUS (now Czech Coal) in the late 1990s. Czech Position has learned that, from the Swiss perspective, judicial authorities here also appeared to have been deliberately uncooperative in the Gripen jet fighter probe.
Reporter for ČESKÁ POZICE. He specializes in diplomacy, security policy, European integrations and politics in the Czech Republic. He studied at the Philosophical Faculty and the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University, later working in the European Commission for the foundation Ano pro Evropu (Yes for Europe) and as a reporter for the weekly Euro.