Daily news summary
Communists insist on controversial choice for security services oversight body
The Communist Party’s deputies group has rejected a call from ANO to replace their nominee for head of the commission that oversees the General Inspectorate of the Security Services, Zdeněk Ondráček. ANO made the call after presidential candidate Michal Horáček pointed out that the Communist Party MP had taken part in a clampdown on demonstrators during the 1989 Velvet Revolution as a member of a riot squad.
On Monday ANO’s second in command Jaroslav Faltýnek asked the Communists to come up with a different candidate for the post, which involves oversight of the police.
The Communist Party look set to help facilitate the establishment of a minority ANO government.
Zeman accepts resignation of Sobotka government
President Miloš Zeman on Tuesday formally accepted the resignation of the government of Bohuslav Sobotka, which was tendered by the coalition of the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats last week. On Wednesday afternoon the head of state is due to name ANO’s Andrej Babiš prime minister. Next week Mr. Zeman will appoint a minority ANO government.
Since October’s elections, in which ANO took almost 30 percent of the vote, the outgoing government has limited its activities to urgent matters and European affairs. The Sobotka cabinet was one of only three since the foundation of the Czech Republic to see out its four-year term.
Hit and run businessman may get out of prison on invalid status
Influential businessman Roman Janoušek may avoid serving the remainder of a prison term for hit and run after being ruled to be an invalid by the Regional Court in Brno, Czech Radio reported on Tuesday. The court made a decision to that effect last year on the basis of two expert medical reports that said Mr. Janoušek’s state of health had deteriorated.
The Municipal Court in Prague was to decide on whether to release him from rest of his jail term but that judgement will now be made in Brno, Czech Radio said.
Mr. Janoušek was sentenced to four and a half years following a high profile hit and run incident in 2012. Wiretaps published in the Czech media gave the impression that he had held considerable influence over politicians in the capital.
Ai Weiwei to present migration documentary in Prague next week
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will present in person the Czech premiere of his documentary Human Flow in Prague next week, the head of the Czech National Gallery Jiří Fajt said on Tuesday. Mr. Fajt said that the well-known, Berlin-based dissident would also be involved in two National Gallery exhibitions in the New Year. The exhibition of his Law of the Journey, a huge installation in the form of a refugee boat, will conclude in January.
Ai Weiwei filmed Human Flow, which focuses on the migrant crisis, at around two dozen places around the world in a one-year period. The first Czech screening will take place at the Lucerna cinema on December 14.
Czechs dress up to mark eve of St. Nicholas Day
Czechs around the country are set to mark the eve of St. Nicholas Day later on Tuesday. People dress up as St. Nicholas (in Czech Mikuláš), an angel and a devil and in trios take to the streets and visit children, notionally rewarding them for being good with sweets and punishing them for bad behaviour with coal or potatoes.
The St. Nicholas tradition, which is also celebrated in different form in other European countries, dates back to the Middle Ages.
It should be overcast on Wednesday with temperatures of up to 4 degrees Celsius. The second half of the week is likely to see snow in some parts of the country.