The main opposition center-left Social Democrats (ČSSD) are seeking early elections, but neither they nor anyone else really wants them. The problem is that any other solution will just be cosmetic for the coalition government, which has split to its core, thanks to mutual stabs in the back and dirty tricks, with trust in the government gone to the dogs.
There has been growing speculation that some members of junior coalition party Public Affairs (VV) are ready to jump to other parties. Things might come to a head in May, when Vít Bárta — the main sponsor of the party — could try to take over party leadership (He has said he wants to face the current chairman Radek John in an Internet election).
The Constitutional Court annulled a set of austerity measures that introduced changes to sickness benefits, child bonuses and social security. Since it did not ascertain whether the content of the law was in accordance with the Constitution, the court annulled it for procedural reasons — and that was not the first time the court had to act as a “third chamber” of Parliament, writes commentator Petr Nováček.
With Bohuslav Sobotka heading the Social Democrats (ČSSD), the party would be emphatically and vehemently left-wing; under his rival Michal Hašek, it’d be more refined and pragmatic — even in dealing with the Nečas government — and willing to modernize. Both men want early elections. Yet some within the ČSSD care little who will win the upcoming Battle in Brno; their eyes are on a bigger prize.
President Václav Klaus has always been a politician with distinct yet — until recently — not extreme opinions. Yet in a remarkable essay for Právo titled “A small Czech Hilsneriad, or another case of the dictatorship of political correctness,” he defends right-wing extremist politician Ladislav Bátora, who was set to become — allegedly upon Prague Castle’s recommendation — first deputy of Education Minister Josef Dobeš (Public Affairs, VV).
Health Minister Leoš Heger (TOP 09) and Czech Doctors’ Union (LOK) chairman Martin Engel signed a memorandum Feb. 17 that should avert a health service crisis. No other option remained open to them because ultimately neither the doctors nor the government could win. Even though the minister didn’t give in to all the doctors’ demands, the capitulation is another black mark for the Nečas government.
One hour before the end of the lower house of Parliament session on Feb. 9, the Communists (KSČM) asked for an adjournment in a move to block discussion on a bill that would officially recognize the anti-communist resistance. Furious squabbles about whether the Mašín brothers were shining heroes, mere opportunists or even assassins were among the reasons why acknowledgement of the “third” resistance movement has been delayed, writes commentator Petr Nováček.
The conflict between the Civic Democrats (ODS) and Public Affairs (VV) has been heating up in the media, with accusations of past improprieties when the Ministry of the Interior was under ODS control. VV also now controls the Ministry of Education, which oversees sports, and is trying to assert itself in the ongoing drama with gambling firm Sazka.
Staff member at ČESKÁ POZICE. He is also a political commentator, analyst for Czech Radio 1 – Radiožurnál. His education and first work was as a historian of contemporary history. As a journalist he has worked for Zemědělské noviny, Mladá fronta Dnes, and Týden, and at Czech Radio since 1999. He works externally for Lidové noviny and other periodicals as well as Czech Television. He has won both the Preiss and the Ferdinand Peroutka prizes for journalism.