Church restitution bill approved in first reading

The Chamber of Deputies passed the government´s bill on a property settlement between the state and the Church in a first reading on Tuesday depsite opposition from the political left. The Social Democrats announced earlier that they would not curb contributions to the debate in any way, leading to speculation that discussion on the bill could last well past midnight. The party's deputies' group chairman Jeroným Tejc said the bill on church property restitution required extraordinary debate during a period of economic crisis. In the end, the bill was approved earlier than expected.

Under the proposal, 17 Czech churches and religious societies will receive 56 percent of the physical property that was confiscated by the communist regime in the 1950s worth around 75 billion crowns. For the rest, the churches would receive 59 billion crowns over a period of 30 years. The leftist opposition has challenged both the volume of the property to be returned and the compensation sum.

Author: Jan Velinger