Daily news summary
Babiš to reveal ministerial nominees on Friday
Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš of ANO plans to announce on Friday afternoon the names of nominees for a minority government he is attempting to form with the Social Democrats. On the same day President Miloš Zeman is due to hold a meeting with the Social Democrats’ candidate for foreign minister, Miroslav Poche, who both Mr. Zeman and the ANO leader are opposed to.
Mr. Babiš is likely to reveal the new cabinet line-up after that meeting on Friday. He has refused to comment on the future of individual ministers in the current ANO-only acting cabinet.
The prospective ANO-Social Democrats coalition would be supported by the Communist Party on key votes in the lower house. The Communists are also against Mr. Poche being appointed foreign policy chief.
Sudeten German leader Posselt criticises Czech “attacks” on Merkel
Sudeten German leader Bernd Posselt has criticised what he called “attacks” by Czech politicians on Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German head of government said on Wednesday that there had been no moral or political justification for the post-war expulsion of Germans from Central and Eastern European countries.
Responding, the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, said he deeply disagreed with her words, while the country’s prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said her statement was unacceptable.
Mr. Posselt said that elements in the Czech establishment were sliding toward the communist past, adding that the expulsions constituted a human rights violation.
Stork’s Nest grant money to be returned
The company Imoba, which is part of the Agrofert conglomerate, has agreed to voluntarily return an EU subsidy of CZK 50 million that was issued for the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague. Imoba has drafted an agreement on repaying the money that includes a clause stating that the move does not represent an admission that grant regulations were breached.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO, the founder of Agrofert, denies criminal charges that he wrongly acquired EU funding in connection with Stork’s Nest. The matter has had an impact on Czech politics, with some parties refusing to enter government with a grouping whose leader is facing court on a criminal matter.
Defence minister awards recognitions for participation in third resistance
Former interior minister and dissident Jan Ruml as well as former Charter 77 spokesman Jan Litomiský were among 33 people who were recognized as members of the so-called third anti-communist resistance movement.
The recognition certificates were handed out on Wednesday by the Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová. Eight of the awards were granted posthumously. The defense ministry has given out 1,560 recognitions of third resistance membership so far, with another 250 applications awaiting evaluation.
General Helidor Píka honoured in Prague on anniversary of execution
A ceremony was held in Prague on Thursday honouring General Helidor Píka, who became the first victim of judicial murder in Czechoslovakia on 21 June 1949. He had been found guilty of treason in a Communist Party-orchestrated show trial.
General Píka served in the Czechoslovak Legions in WWI before becoming one of the highest ranking and most respected officers in the interwar Czechoslovak army. He was a prominent member of the anti-Nazi resistance during WWII.
The memorial to him at Vítězné náměstí in Prague 6 was attended by relatives, representatives of the Czech government, veterans and members of the public.
It should be quite overcast and rainy in the Czech Republic on Friday, with daytime highs of up to 17 degrees Celsius. The weekend should see similar weather before temperatures begin to climb in the first half of next week.