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Spotlight Issue

Politics: Senate Election Results

18 October 2014

On Friday 17th October and Saturday 18th October 2nd round of the elections to the Senate was held and 27 senators from the total number of 81 were elected to serve their 6year term in office. The turnout proved to be at its lowest level and historic minimum with only 16.6 % of eligible voters that is lower than half of the turnout in first electoral round with 38.62 %. Greatest success achieved ČSSD with 10 of 19 defended mandates with the result being according party presidents expectations. Second place shared ANO 2001 with 4 new mandates and KDU-ČSL that also received additional 4 mandates. KDU-ČSL also received 3 more mandates in coalition with SZ (Green Party). ODS itself along with SLK (Mayors for Liberec Region), STAN (Mayors and Independent), SsČR (Freeholders Party) and SPO received 1 mandate. ODS additionally received 1 mandate more in an unusual coalition with the monarchist movement Koruna Česká (Czech Crown). One party that also defended one mandate but didn’t receive any was KSČM. Also present speaker of the Senate Milan Štěch managed to defend his mandate during these election. If we now have a look at the present situation in Senate and on potential majorities we can see that ČSSD remained the strongest force in the upper chamber with its 34 senators followed with ODS with 14 senators, KDU-ČSL has now 10 senators, 7 senators belong to the club of Mayors, KSČM will be in club with SPO and Severočeš with the total of 6 senators, SZ (Green Party) is finally going to from its own senatorial club with 5 senators followed by the club of ANO and independents that is likely to emerge also having 5 senators. With this layout the current government coalition should have comfortable majority of 48 senators.

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Politics: Finance ministers agree on new anti-tax evasion measures

17 October 2014

On 14 October in Luxembourg, the finance ministers of the EU28 held a meeting of the ECOFIN Council. In line with the OECD and G20 general guidelines on fight against tax evasion, the ministers discussed and eventually agreed on a revised automatic exchange of tax information directive. The directive currently in force was agreed on in 2013 and provides for mandatory exchange of tax-related information between the tax administrations for the cases in which the taxpayer is a resident of another Member State. Now, the ministers agreed to include information on financial assets categories of income, such as interests and dividends, into the scope of the directive. It will thus add up to the already exchanged information on employment, life insurance products, immovable property and other types of income. The new rules go in line with the EU´s fight against tax fraud and evasion. Tax matters legislative acts are not adopted through the ordinary legislative procedure, that is with the participation of the European Parliament. Pursuant to the relevant articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, such acts are adopted unanimously by the Council, the EP being consulted. The text agreed by the ministers will now be edited and translated in all the EU official languages. Then, at a next Council meeting, it will be formally adopted without further discussion.



Voting in Prague

13 October 2014

See the table attached about the Voting in Prague.


Politics: Municipal and Senate (1st round) Election Results

12 October 2014

On Friday 10th October and on Saturday 11th October elections to the municipalities and also first round of senate elections were held. The turnout was expectedly low at 44.46 % for municipal elections and 38.62 % for the first round of senate elections where one third of the upper chamber of parliament is elected. In absolute numbers most mandates in municipal elections were won by independent candidates and associations of independent candidates, it is 41 460 mandates. As for the major political parties and number of mandates won the KDU ČSL was the most successful one with 3 996 mandates that was even 100 mandates more than in previous elections. They were followed by ČSSD (3 806) that on the contrary lost 800 mandates and worsened its position especially in major cities and surrendered its leading position to ANO which received 1 610 mandates but in relative  strength was the most successful party with the 14.59 % share. ANO also won elections in many populous and in all but four regional cities and in Prague. According to political scientist Petr Just this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be part of ruling coalition in all the cities where it won as other parties often delimit themselves in relation to ANO.



Politics: New EC approval: Bratušek rejected, Juncker needs to reshuffle

10 October 2014

Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker suffered a blow from the MEPs last week. The Slovenian nominee, the ex-prime minister Alenka Bratušek, to whom Juncker entrusted the Vice-Presidency of the team responsible for the energy union, was overwhelmingly rejected by the parliamentary committee responsible for her hearing. It is up to Juncker now to try to reorganize his Commission in such way, that all the balances are in place and that MEPs do not find more issues.

More nominees faced trouble from the parliamentarians, most notably the Spanish Canete, the British lord Hill and the French Moscovici. Insiders indicate that a backroom truce was brokered among the two largest parliamentary political groups – the conservatives (EPP) and the socialists (S&D). Simply put, socialists exchanged the support for their most valued figure, Mr Moscovici in charge of economic and monetary affair, for the support of several problematic conservative nominees, notably Mr Canete and the Hungarian Mr Navracsics. Lord Hill faced a full-scale second round of hearing, but performed well. Also Ms Jourova for the Czech Republic was approved after responding to additional written questions.



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