Daily news summary
Senators call on PM Babiš to step down over Stork’s Nest affair
The Upper House of Czech Parliament has called on Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to step down over new allegations surrounding the Stork’s Nest affair, in which he faces charges of EU subsidy fraud.
According to the senators, Andrej Babiš’s presence in the government is unacceptable following suggestions that his son was forcibly held in Crimea so that he would not be able to testify in the corruption case against his father.
The resolution was approved by a majority of senators on Thursday after the prime minister failed to provide a convincing explanation with regard to his son’s alleged kidnapping. It says the prime minister should step down until the criminal investigation has been concluded.
Andrej Babiš is facing a criminal investigation into allegations he wrongfully acquired CZK 50 million in EU subsidies for the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague. He claims the case is politically motivated.
Poll: Most Czechs say Babiš tried to prevent kids from testifying in Stork’s Nest case
Most Czechs (57 percent) believe Prime Minister Andrej Babiš tried to keep his children from testifying in a corruption case against him over EU subsidies to the Stork’s Next complex, according to a poll by the Median agency.
The poll was taken after the publication of an interview on Monday with Babiš’s son, who said he had been “kidnapped” and taken to Crimea because his father wanted him to “disappear” while the investigation into EU subsidy fraud was underway.
Mr Babiš says his son, who now lives in Switzerland, is mentally ill and that the allegations are nonsense. The prime minister also says his daughter is bipolar and so her testimony would be unreliable.
According to the Median agency poll, 50 percent of respondents believe that it is important that his children’s testimony is heard, as their signatures are on key documents and they also face charges in the Stork’s Nest case.
Seznam Zprávy: PM’s son wants to testify over alleged kidnapping
Andrej Babiš Jr. says he wants to cooperate with the police in the investigation of his alleged kidnapping to Crimea, which was supposed to prevent him from testifying in the corruption case against his father, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. He made the statement in an e-mail sent to the news website Seznam Zprávy on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Seznam Zprávy carried an interview with Andrej Babiš Jr. in which he said he had been forcibly moved to the Crimea as his father wanted him out of the way of a corruption investigation.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš responded by saying his son was mentally ill and had to be under constant supervision. But according to Andrej Babiš Jr., who currently lives in Switzerland with his mother, his father is lying about his mental illness.
Czech MPs debate same-sex marriage, vote possible in January
The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday debated two proposals on legalising same-sex marriages – one for and the other against – but a possible vote is not likely until January.
Backing an amendment to the Civil Code granting homosexuals the same marital rights as heterosexuals, including the possibility to adopt children, were 46 MPs.
They included members of the governing ANO and Social Democrat parties, as well as the opposition Party of Mayors and the Pirates.
The Christian Democrats spearheaded a measure to preserve the status quo, that is to allow same-sex couples only to have registered partnerships. At last count, 37 MPs had committed to backing it.
Close to 3,000 gay and lesbian couples are now living in registered partnerships in the Czech Republic thanks to a law approved in 2006 after years of stormy debate in the lower house and vehement opposition from the Christian Democrats.
Registered partners do not have the same property and other rights as married couples. According to the group Jsme fér (We Are Fair), two-thirds of Czechs favour legalising same-sex marriage.
Zdeněk Hřib officially elected Prague Mayor
Zdeněk Hřib of the Pirate Party has been officially elected Prague mayor, receiving 39 out of 65 votes at the first meeting of the new municipal council on Thursday.
The 37-year-old politician was supported by the three coalition partners, the Pirate Party, the independent movement Praha Sobě and the Joint Forces of Prague, made up of TOP09 party, the Party of Mayors and Independents and the Christian Democrats. The opposition ANO and Civic Democrat deputies voted against him.
Exhibition of Jaromír Funke gets underway in Olomouc
An exhibition of the work by world-renowned Czech photographer Jaromír Funke gets underway in the Museum of Art in Olomouc on Thursday. Called Jaromír Funke: Photographer of the Avant-Garde, the exhibition presents his most famous images from the 1920’s and 30’s but also some of his lesser-known and previously unpublished work.
The Czech photographer is regarded as one of the most important representatives of international Avant-Garde photography and his works are part of many renowned collections, including the Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Friday is expected to be mostly overcast with daytime temperatures ranging between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.