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Czech report Czech report
by Euro Reporter
2010-02-28 09:53:46
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Svejnar dismisses info about his running in Czech polls for CSSD

Renowned Czech-U.S. liberal economist Jan Svejnar has indirectly dismissed the media information that he might run in the May polls as a regional election leader for the Social Democrats (CSSD), it ensues from a statement his secretary Daniel Herman made. The information appeared today. The CSSD, too, has called this a speculation.

"Professor Svejnar has not held any negotiations that could motivate the daily press to report on his candidacy in the general election this May," Herman said. In early 2008 Svejnar unsuccessfully ran for the post of president, supported by the Greens and the CSSD. He was narrowly defeated by Vaclav Klaus, candidate of the Civic Democrats (ODS). Pravo writes that the CSSD wants to field Svejnar as its election leader in the Hradec Kralove region, east Bohemia.

Nevertheless, "the situation in Svejnar´s case is rather difficult as he does not want to run elsewhere than in Prague. As a result the whole plan may fall through," the source said. Pravo also writes that Martin Pecina and Jan Kohout, the interior and foreign ministers in the caretaker government, both nominated by the CSSD, are to be its election leaders in Prague and Plzen, west Bohemia, respectively. It also says former CSSD deputy Michal Hasek, now south Moravia governor, wants to seek return to the Chamber of Deputies.


Over two-thirds of Czechs say NATO necessary - poll

Some 69 percent of Czechs consider NATO necessary, which is 4 percent more than in January 2009. But the number of those who say NATO is not necessary increased from 14 to 19 percent at the same time. In 2008, only 53 percent of the citizens supported the country´s membership of NATO.

Especially men, people with higher education and higher incomes and right-wing supporters tend to be satisfied with NATO. The opposite view is shared mostly by people aged over 60, leftist voters, and people with lower education and salaries, the poll showed. Some 57 percent, 8 percent less than a year ago, believe that NATO is good for the security of its members and for peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region.

The influence of NATO on relations between its members is considered positive by 54 percent of Czechs, which is a marked decrease compared to 63 percent in 2009. Some 44 percent appreciate NATO´s role in fighting terrorism and 35 percent agree that it has a positive influence on peace and stability in other parts of the world. Last year the result was similar.


Czech deputies pass rise in maternity benefits to 2009 level

The Czech Chamber of Deputies approved the rise in maternity benefits to the 2009 level, proposed by the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), which would demand additional 1.5 billion crowns from the state budget, at its extraordinary session. The bill is yet to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Vaclav Klaus into law. Thanks to the new bill, mothers would get up to several thousands crowns more a month in maternity benefits.

Deputies of four parties, the KDU-CSL, the Social Democrats (CSSD), the Communists (KSCM) and the Greens (SZ) voted for the rise in maternity benefits, while the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) and TOP 09 deputies were against it. They criticise the fact that the measure will burden the state budget. Klaus said previously he would not sign any bills to increase the already exorbitant state budget deficit of 163 billion crowns for 2010. However, the Chamber of Deputies will probably have enough votes to outvote Klaus´s possible veto since the parties supporting the bill command a majority of 109 votes in the 200-seat lower house.

Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) justify the proposal, saying it was not right to save money during the economic crisis at the expense of mothers with children. Communists (KSCM) argued that lower maternity benefits would further decrease birth rate in the country. ODS deputy Petr Necas questioned the argument, pointing out than height-income families have a lower number of children those low-income groups. Maternity benefits have been lowered since January 1 within the government anti-crisis measures from 70 to 60 percent of income. At the same time the daily calculation base of maternity benefits has dropped from 100 to 90 percent. If a woman earned 20.000 crowns a month before she went on maternity leave, for instance, she would get 3150 crowns less maternity benefit than in 2009.

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