Daily news summary
ANO to offer Civic Democrats place in government
Negotiations on forming a cabinet continue between election winner ANO and the eight other parties who won seats in the lower house. On Tuesday ANO’s negotiating team is set to offer the right-wing Civic Democrats, who came second in the elections, a place in the government. The party’s intention to make a coalition offer was confirmed by ANO deputy chair Jaroslav Faltynek.
Although ANO and the Civic Democrats would technically hold a 103 seat majority, the Civic Democrats have already indicated they do not want to enter into a coalition with ANO.
Talks will also take place with the right-wing TOP 09 which got 5.3 percent of the votes and has also said it is heading for the opposition.
Secret service reports heightened activity by Russian, Chinese agents
In its 2016 annual report the Czech Republic’s intelligence service BIS says it has registered heightened activity by Russian and Chinese agents in the country. The Czech Republic was targeted by campaigns aimed against the EU, NATO and the Ukraine, the report says. Meanwhile Chinese agents were focused on influencing public opinion with regard to Tibet and undermining Czech Taiwanese relations.
Politicians slam suggestion that the public broadcaster should be nationalized
Czech politicians have sharply rejected the idea that the country’s public broadcasters –Czech Radio and Czech Television – should be nationalized. The suggestion was made by the head of the Party of Freedom and Direct Democracy Tomio Okamura in an interview for Czech Radio, when he claimed that the financing of the two institutions was intransparent and they should be under national supervision. He said his party was in favour of scrapping license fees and making the public broadcasters entirely dependent on state support.
Politicians from the ANO party, the Pirates party, the Christian Democrats, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents slammed the idea saying they would never support censorship or take any measure that would undermined the independence of the country’s public broadcasters.
The head of Czech Radio Rene Zavoral said Czech Radio regularly presents reports on spending to the lower house of Parliament and argued that nationalizing the public broadcaster would be in violation of the basic principles of democracy.
Kalousek not to seek reelection as TOP 09 leader
The head of the TOP 09 party Miroslav Kalousek has announced that he will not run for reelection at the party’s national conference in November.
The announcement comes in the wake of the party’s poor showing in the weekend general elections. TOP 09 won just 5.3 percent of the vote, only barely crossing the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the lower house. It will retain only 7 seats in the lower house, losing 19 seats.
Kalousek co-founded the party in 2009 and served as deputy chair under party leader Karel Schwarzenberg. He took over in 2015 when Schwarzenberg left the top post.
Christian Democrats likely heading for opposition
The leadership of the Christian Democratic Party, a member of the outgoing coalition, has recommended that in the wake of its poor showing in the elections, the party should go into the opposition.
A final decision on the matter is to be made at a national party conference on Friday. Party leader Pavel Bělobrádek has said he will publicly offer his resignation over the poor election result at the conference.
The party won 5.8 percent of the votes in the elections, losing four seats in the lower house.
President to task Babiš with forming new government on Tuesday
President Miloš Zeman will officially task the winner of the general elections Andrej Babiš of the ANO party with forming a new government on Tuesday, the President’s Office announced. Mr. Zeman has invited Mr. Babiš to Lany Chateau for a working lunch on Tuesday at which he will hand over the request in writing. The president will then meet with the leaders of all other parties that won seats in the lower house to hear their views on possible post-election scenarios.
Wednesday should be cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.