Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for September 27, 2021

Anti-Babiš protests take place throughout the country, pro-Czexit coalition a no-go according to Havlíček, ex-President Klaus remains in hospital.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff
Published on 27.09.2021 09:56 (updated on 27.09.2021)

Anti-Babiš protests held in cities throughout the Czech Republic

Protest movement Million Moments for Democracy has coordinated protests in 32 cities throughout the Czech Republic against the leadership of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The event, in which yellow police tape was put up drawing attention to Babiš’s links to the Agrofert conglomerate in various public spaces such as bus stops, statues and fountains, was intended to highlight Babiš’s alleged conflicts of interest ahead of the general election on October 8-9.

Million Moments argued that if Babiš is re-elected as Prime Minister, problems with conflicts of interest will only increase. The tape put up throughout the country bore the words “Confiscated by ANO-FERT”. In Prague, tape appeared on Wenceslas Square, surrounding the famous statue of St. Wenceslas.

Pro-Czexit coalition a no-go for ANO, says Havlíček

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (ANO) said he cannot imagine being a member of a government coalition backing a referendum on the Czech Republic leaving the European Union. The deputy leader of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) had earlier stated that a referendum on EU membership would be the main condition for the SPD to enter a government coalition after October’s general election.

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While appearing to dismiss the notion of an EU referendum, Havlíček said “it is too early to say anything now” and that the Czech values must be defended. The SPD also made the replacement of current Prime Minister Andrej Babiš a condition of their entering a coalition with ANO.

Ex-President Klaus remains in hospital

For Czech President Václav Klaus, 80, remains in Prague’s Central Military Hospital (ÚVN), where he has been hospitalized since Thursday. Klaus is continuing with treatment at the hospital’s department of urology, according to a spokesperson. The treatment is expected to take several days. Klaus was first admitted to ÚVN due to issues with hypertension two weeks ago, and has been in and out of the facility since then.

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Klaus told reporters he has suffered with very high blood pressure and troubles with his stomach. Klaus, who was President from 2003-2013, has not suffered from many serious health troubles often in the past, unlike current President Miloš Zeman, who was also treated at ÚVN in the last two weeks due to dehydration and minor exhaustion.

Government wants to subsidize energy bills for 800,000 households

The Czech government wants to introduce “energy cheques” along the French model helping low-income households pay their energy bills, Minister for Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček has announced. The scheme would cover around half of the total energy bills for some 800,000 households, with the first subsidies to be sent out as early as November.

Members of the Pirate and Christian Democrat parties expressed their support for such a move amid rising energy prices. It is believed a short-term solution is needed to help households at risk of energy poverty, although the final decision will have to be taken by a new cabinet after the general election on October 8-9.

Czech athlete Chaloupka wins Canoe Slalom World Championship

Václav Chaloupka, 23, won the 2021 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championship in Bratislava to become the first Czech world champion since 1977. Lukáš Rohan, another Czech competitor and the silver medalist from the Tokyo Olympics, came seventh in the competition. Second place was claimed by Slovak Alexander Slakovsky.

Chaloupka’s win by 0.15 seconds was the Czech Republic’s first medal at the world championships since Stanislav Ježek won bronze in Prague in 2006. German representative Franz Anton came third. In the women’s competition, Gabriela Satková took bronze, in a race won by German Elena Apelová.

New helicopter hangar mooted for construction at Prague Airport

The Czech police want to build a new hangar for helicopters and drones at Prague Airport with an investment of around CZK 800 million. Construction could begin in 2023, to be completed by 2025. The police now operate a total of fifteen helicopters: nine EC-135 helicopters and six Bell 412 helicopters. The existing hangar is more than 100 years old, while there is a second hangar at Brno-Tuřany Airport.

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A plan to conclude a memorandum on the construction of a new hangar should be concluded with Prague Airport in October, with a tender for the construction works then beginning. The current hangar was designed primarily for winged aircraft and only during later developments of the police air force switched to housing helicopters.

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