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News

Political Digest May 2017 - Game of Chairs

19.05.2017
Company: Grayling Czech Republic, s.r.o.

We could use this whole digest to describe the current governmental crisis. However, as we realise you probably read the newspapers on a regular basis, we’ll cut to the chase. First of all, as we write this, our president is still in China and the post of finance minister is still shrouded in uncertainty, with no solution at all in sight.

Even if the government does manage to resolve the current crisis, the impact on the legislative landscape could be really severe. We have identified at least 14 legislative acts threatened by the current impasse, with only a few months until the next election and the summer recess coming up. We list them in our report on the crisis. Although much of the report is already outdated (the pace of events is extraordinary fast), the list still stands. Many of the laws are healthcare-related, but there is also the Act on Electronic Communications, prepared by former minister Jan Mládek, which should be aiming for lower mobile communication prices.
 
The crisis continues every day. We are now counting down to the next revelation of a recording featuring Andrej Babiš. You know when a politician starts flooding his social media accounts with cute animals that a serious problem is on the horizon. On Sunday morning, we will find out whether this is a genuine scandal or just a “witch hunt” against him.

 

Zeman Sobotka Hůlka

A photo that will probably make it to the history books one day. President Miloš Zeman just realized that Bohuslav Sobotka will actually not resign. (Prague Castle, 4 May 2017)

 

Contracts Register postponed (again)

After MPs decided to incorporate several exemptions into the Act on the Contracts Register, the Senate changed it back and approved it only with exemptions for the state-owned brewery Budvar and certain changes for hospitals. It then remained to be seen how MPs would respond. On Tuesday 16 May, this question was resolved when the Chamber of Deputies voted to shelve the procedure in light of a new version of the bill. According to our intelligence, the proposal is to be submitted by one of the coalition MPs and should have wide political support. The register was initially meant for all central government organisations, municipalities, and regional governments and their companies and organisations, who were supposed to list all contracts worth at least CZK 50,000.

Good reception

LiSt

The coalition of Christian Democrats and Mayors seems ready for the election. On Tuesday, they introduced the new logo they will be using during the election campaign. Needless to say, success is doubtful. Since the internet is a merciless place to be, it did not take long for the fun to begin, starting with the logo (dominated by four stripes in a triangle) being switched for that of Adidas and ending with Wi-Fi jokes. This will probably go down as a clear example of how a logo can kill a brand’s potential. What makes this all the more bizarre is that everyone had been bandying about the acronym “LiSt” (“leaf” in Czech), which would have given the two parties plenty of other opportunities, especially as the lime is the national tree.  

STAKEHOLDER CHESS

First woman promoted to general in the Czech Army

Lenka Šmerdová

Lenka Šmerdová became the first woman to be promoted to the rank of brigade general in the history of the Czech armed forces, after being appointed by President Miloš Zeman on V-E Day this year.

Normally, this news would warrant a simple acknowledgment, with Šmerdová serving in army recruitment since 1996. However, some politicians did not see this as a good move. Particularly striking was the opposition voiced by Jana Černochová, MP for the Civic Democratic Party, who claimed this promotion meant that Šmerdová was “done in the army” because it’s an “uncompromising male environment”. A stark example of the fact that having a female general does not in itself mean we have actually achieved equality, whether in our minds or in reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not just an ordinary man

Ivan Pilný

Last week, Alena Schillerová seemed set to reach the pinnacle of her career by becoming the first female finance minister. However, despite her protestations that she was “just an ordinary woman”, her close ties to the ANO Movement proved a stumbling block with the prime minister. She also has detractors among those who have had dealings with the Financial Administration. So ANO came up with another name and, this time, it’s no “ordinary guy”. Ivan Pilný, entrepreneur, investor and the founder and former director of Microsoft’s Czech branch, is to be the new finance minister. His nomination is acceptable to the prime minister because Pilný represents perhaps the only hint of opposition within the ANO Movement, if anything of the sort exists at all. The PM therefore hopes that Pilný, in his new position, will at least try to avoid Babiš’s bandwagoning.

BRUSSELS CORNER

Digital Single Market

DSM

 

The now one-year-old Digital Single Market Strategy got reviewed in a document published by the European Commission last week. There were 35 legislative proposals based on DSM strategy, but only one was adopted. The review focuses on all crucial areas, including cybersecurity, data economy, roaming charges, privacy and data protection and others. If you read our Brussels Corner regularly, you already know where this is going. So we are going to make it easy for you and redirect you now to our Brussels PA Team’s website, where you can find a comprehensive outline of the updated strategy, as well as all necessary contacts should you desire more information.

 

THE MONTH AHEAD

  • 23 - 26 May Regular meetings of committees in the Senate
  • 23 - 26 May Plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies
  • 23 May - 1 June Regular meetings of committees in the Chamber of Deputies
  • 31 May Plenary session of the Senate
  • 6 - 9 June Plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies
  • 12 - 18 June Regular meetings of committees in the Chamber of Deputies

 

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

Jiří Zlatuška

“There are too many journalists; they should be eliminated.”


Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic, in small talk with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, who seemed very uncomfortable having to react to such proposals. He only nodded faintly, saying that reducing their numbers should do the trick.


 

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