Daily news summary

PM fails to negotiate support for his minority government

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told journalists that he had failed to negotiate support for his minority government in the lower house.

Following Thursday’s talks with the Pirates’ Party and the Party of Freedom and Direct Democracy the prime minister said only the Communists were willing to consider the possibility of tolerating his government, all other parliamentary parties have refused to support it.

The prime minister plans to ask the lower house for a vote of confidence in his government on January 10th. Should he fail to get it, the president has promised to give him a second attempt at forming a government.

Majority of Czechs unhappy with post-election negotiations

The majority of Czechs are dissatisfied with the post-election negotiations and the minority government headed by Andrej Babiš, according to the outcome of a poll conducted by the STEM agency.

Six out of ten respondents said they would have preferred a more stable alternative. Four out of ten people would have preferred a coalition with another party.

Only ANO and Communist Party supporters expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

A fourth of respondents said they would prefer early elections.

Liberec mayor charged with bribery and abuse of office

The mayor of Liberec, Martin Půta, a number of city hall employees and four companies cooperating on EU subsidized projects in the region have been charged with bribery and abuse of office.Thirteen people have been charged altogether in connection with two dubious projects.

The mayor has been charged in connection with the reconstruction of a church in Liberec. He is suspected of having accepted a bribe of several hundred thousand crowns. If convicted he could face a sentence of between five and twelve years in jail.

Václav Havel Airport reports record number of passengers serviced

Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport has reported a record number of 15 million passengers serviced this year. Last year the airport handled 13 million passengers from around the world. The airport was expanded a few years ago to meet growing demand.

The company said on its web page that the increase was not only due to a growing number of foreign tourists for whom Prague is a safe and attractive tourist destination, but also to the growing number of Czechs travelling abroad by air.

Poll: Two-thirds want Babiš’s immunity lifted

Two-thirds of Czechs believe the Chamber of Deputies should again lift the immunity of ANO’s Andrej Babiš and Jaroslav Faltýnek so they can face trial on charges of abuse of EU subsidies, suggests a poll conducted for Czech Radio by the Median agency.

The pair have been called to appear before the lower house’s immunity committee on January 9, a day before the ANO government makes a first attempt to win a vote of confidence.

Mr. Babiš and Mr. Faltýnek, who deny any wrongdoing, had their parliamentary immunity lifted by the previous Chamber of Deputies. However, they regained it when they were re-elected in October.

New health minister plans changes on reimbursements

The minister of health in the newly appointed ANO government, Adam Vojtěch, plans to put forward an amendment on reimbursements for medical aids within the next two months, Czech Television reported.

The changes would mean patients would have to spend less of their own money to acquire such items as wheelchairs, lenses for glasses and crutches.

The Constitutional Court ruled this year that the current system was non-transparent and unjust and rescinded part of the law as of the end of 2018. This means the Ministry of Health must put forward fresh legislation within the next 12 months.

Weather forecast

Friday should be overcast around the country with scattered showers and day temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.