The Mayors and Independents group have decided to stand on their own in October’s general elections, leader Petr Gazdík said on Tuesday. Members voted overwhelmingly to reject an offer from the Christian Democrats to run for parliament on their lists of candidates. The two had formed a coalition in April but it was last week abrogated by the Christian Democrats, who may have feared not reaching the threshold to enter the Chamber of Deputies, which in the case of a two-party coalition would be 10 percent.
Prague’s Supreme Court has handed a five-year jail term to Marek Dalík, who was found guilty of attempting to solicit a bribe in connection with a military hardware contract while he was an advisor to then prime minister Mirek Topolanek. Mr. Dalík was previously sentenced to four years for the same offence but was freed earlier this year over formal shortcomings in the original trial. His latest conviction came despite a change in his testimony. He was accused of seeking a bribe of CZK 50,000,000 from the company Steyr in 2007 to smooth a deal to buy armoured carriers for the Czech Army.
ANO chief Andrej Babiš says the leak of police information is a problem for the force’s leaders and not his as an “ordinary MP”. Mr. Babiš made the comment after being questioned for about half an hour by a lower house committee looking into the leak of information from ongoing police investigations. The ANO leader told journalists that he not held “live” police files in his hands and had not received any such information from journalist Marek Přibil, who also appeared before the committee on Tuesday. Anonymously released recordings appeared to show Mr. Přibil offering Mr. Babiš police information and the two planning smear campaigns against rivals when the journalist worked for a newspaper owned by the politician. Mr. Babiš says the recordings are fake.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, reiterated the Czech Republic’s priorities with regard to the UK’s departure from the EU with that country’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Davis, in Prague on Tuesday. Mr. Zaorálek told Mr. Davis that the Prague government wished to see the rights of Czech citizens in the UK preserved, continued good relations with London and the resolution of the UK’s financial commitments to the EU budget. For his part, Mr. Davis said there was a moral obligation to clear up uncertainties surrounding EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa. He said under current proposals Czechs living in the UK would have the same rights as British people, apart from the right to vote.
The trial has begun in Prague of a man accused of deliberately switching the medication in boxes when he worked for the pharmaceutical company Zentiva. The firm was forced to recall certain medications when the case came to light last September. The newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported that the defendant had switched the pills in two boxes in revenge for being informed that he was being let go by Zentiva. If found guilty he could receive a five-year jail term.
The police have charged MPs Josef Novotný of the Social Democrats and Jaroslav Borek of the Communist Party with the abuse of European Union subsidies. The move comes a month after the Chamber of Deputies voted to lift their parliamentary immunity in connection with the case, which centres on a regional fund in northwest Bohemia. Two dozen others, including former senator Alexandr Novák and former regional governor Jana Vaňhová, are also facing trial. Several people have already been convicted over the matter.
The Czech Army will commission more than 140 armoured vehicles in the coming years at a projected cost of 9.2 billion crowns (the equivalent of around 353 million euros) Defence Minister Martin Stropnický confirmed. The plan was approved by the government on Monday. Around 4.4 billion crowns will go towards buying some 80 lighter vehicles and 4.8 billion will go towards buying 62 heavier armoured transporters produced by Tatra Export. The deal is the largest of its kind put forward by the current government and the third largest army commission in the past decade or so.
In American football, the Prague Black Panthers won their fifth straight Czech Bowl on Monday, crushing the Ostrava Steelers by a score of 28:0. The Steelers had hoped to build on success against the Panthers in the regular season, when they drew. The prestige final was broadcast live on Monday by Czech TV.
The health of a Czech national injured in a knife attack in Hurghada, Egypt, two weeks ago, rapidly worsened on Monday, the Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed, adding no additional details would be released at her family’s request. In the attack, the 36-year-old suffered a leg injury that left two German women dead. The Czech had been recovering at a hospital in Cairo. Before her condition worsened, plans were underway for her to be flown home. The Foreign Ministry confirmed that a specialist would depart from the Czech Republic on Monday to be able to examine the patient.
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