Czech Republic. According to
Countryaah, domestic politics, the Czech Republic was
characterized by economic difficulties and political
turbulence. One cause of concern was President Václav
Havel's disease of lung cancer, for which he was operated on
in December 1996. However, the president returned to his
office in January. He announced in July that he planned to
run for the next presidential election for another five-year
term. His goal for the next period was to secure the country
membership in NATO and the EU.
The Czech economy grew weaker in the spring. Foreign
exchange and industrial output fell, and foreign investors
became increasingly skeptical of the country's economic
policies. Prime Minister Václav Klaus, together with the
coalition government, was forced to submit to a vote of
confidence in Parliament in May, which it won by the lowest
possible margin. The vote took place after the Prime
Minister requested that Parliament support a financial shock
In October, the political crisis became acute again. The
revelations that Prime Minister Klaus and his party ODS
funded their election campaign illegally became increasingly
troublesome. Among other things, Klaus and the party were
accused of receiving money from a businessman who, in
return, was allowed to buy shares in a state company when it
was privatized. Klaus could not prove his innocence and was
forced to resign at the end of November. The government
announced its departure at the same time, although it would
remain until a new one had been appointed, which did not
happen during the year. The new Prime Minister, Josef
Tošovský, was appointed as new Prime Minister, who was not
affiliated with any party. He had a good reputation and,
according to many analysts, could become the one who
restored confidence in the Czech economy.
In foreign policy, the Czech Republic was more
successful. In December it was clear that the country will
be one of the countries negotiating EU membership in the
first round of enlargement. The country was also offered
membership in NATO together with Poland and Hungary.
At the beginning of the year, Václav Klaus and Germany's
Chancellor Helmut Kohl signed a declaration of
reconciliation and friendship. Germany expressed sadness
over Hitler Germany's occupation of the neighboring country
and the Czech Republic apologized for its deportation of
Sudetis after the Second World War.
In August 2016, Deputy Prime Minister Babiš rejected the
EU refugee quota system. He denied that refugees should have
access to the Czech Republic, even the country was subject
to EU sanctions. After the attack on a market in Berlin in
December, he made Chancellor Merkel responsible:
"Unfortunately... (Angela Merkel's open refugee policy) is
responsible for this horrific incident. It is she who has
allowed refugees to flow into Germany and the EU in
uncontrolled waves, without papers and therefore without
knowing who they really are ».
Hatred rhetoric and actions against refugees and Roma
continued through 2016, well supported by the president who
declared that refugees were a danger to the country.
Right-wing protesters demonstrated in Prague and painted
shop windows where the owners had declared themselves
opponents of their hate rhetoric. In August, a man shot up
in the air outside a Roma summer camp in Jiřetín pod
Jedlovou, shouting anti-Roma slogans. Police declined to
investigate the incident. The UN called on the government to
provide compensation to the Roma women who had been
subjected to forced sterilization and to examine the scope
and specific details at all. The government rejected.
In December 2016, confidence in the president reached
48%. A decrease of 14% according to the May survey. The
cause was a series of scandals affecting the president.
In March 2017, President Zeman announced his intention to
run for the next 2018 presidential election.
Also in March, the government was plunged into a
political crisis when it was revealed that the leader of
coalition party Ano 2011 and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš
were behind a number of personal criminal financial
transactions. The crisis was further aggravated in May when
Babiš refused to resign as minister. It caused Prime
Minister Sobotka to resign as prime minister, a few days
later to regret, remain on the post and then by guys Babiš.
But now President Zeman refused to accept the firing. This
triggered protest demonstrations in Prague as Zeman had
unconstitutional right to oppose the firing. The government
was now severely weakened.
Prime Minister Sobotka resigned in June 2017 as chairman
of his party the Social Democratic ČSSD after some
disappointing polls leading up to the parliamentary
elections. However, he remained on the post of prime
minister. The October elections were quite a stifling defeat
for ČSSD, which lost 35 of its 50 seats and had to settle
for 15. The Communist Party KSČM also declined drastically.
It lost 18 seats and had to settle for 15. In contrast, the
right wing stepped forward. In 2011, 31 seats went up to 78
and thus became the largest party in Parliament. The
Conservative ODS went up to 9 seats until 25. The Pirate
Party came in as a new party with 22 seats and, in a stroke,
became Parliament's 3rd largest party. The right-wing SPD
also entered as a new party with 22 seats.
The election result threw the Czech Republic into a
parliamentary crisis. No other party was interested in
forming government with the big winner Ano 2011 when its
leader and multi-billionaire Babiš was under police
investigation (both in the Czech Republic and the EU) for
his criminal activities. In late October, therefore,
President Zeman let Babiš form a minority government, which
in itself was also a challenge since only the Communist
Party would tolerate an Ano 2011 minority government.