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Czech Government to resign: Technocratic cabinet could endanger the buy-out of the pig farm at Romani genocide site

3.5.2017 17:28
The pig farm standing at the site of the former WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety, Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  ROMEA Archive)
The pig farm standing at the site of the former WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: ROMEA Archive)

The current political situation around the upcoming resignation of the Government could impact the negotiations about the buy-out of the industrial pig farm at Lety u Písku, the site of a former concentration camp for Romani people during WWII. A decision about buying the site was originally to be made in June.

According to the Czech Minister for Human Rights and Legislation, the buy-out will be endangered should a technocratic cabinet be appointed by the Czech President. As per the current schedule for completing this task there is already an appraisal available estimating the cost of buying the farm, and this month there are meant to be negotiations on the purchase price with the operator of the farm, the AGPI firm.

The eventual approval of an agreement between AGPI and the state was meant to have happened at a June cabinet session. "Whether the buy-out of the pig farm at Lety is implemented according to the planned schedule will apparently be decided as soon as possible. If the Government were to continue to govern in a state of resignation, the negotiations of the buy-out would continue. However, if the option to create a technocratic cabinet is taken, that will probably mean a final decision about the buy-out will not be made before the elections," Michal Kačírek, spokesperson for Czech Human Rights and Legislation Minister Jan Chvojka, told news server Romea.cz.

Chvojka has the completion of the buy-out of the pig farm on his agenda, as does the Czech Culture Ministry, and the same question about what this means for Lety was responded to by one of its representatives as well. Spokesperson Simona Cigánková conveyed the following statement by Czech Culture Minister Herman to news server Romea.cz: "The minister will not speculate because the situation is still unclear. He confirmed to me that the matter continues to proceed according to the Government decree, i.e., first information will be shared with the Prime Minister and the relevant colleagues, and after further discussion, a proposal will be prepared for the Government as per its resolution on the matter."

Yesterday the Government dispute between Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš escalated further. The Prime Minister, because of unclear matters connected with the Finance Minister's own private business deals, said he will be delivering Czech President Miloš Zeman the resignations of the entire cabinet by the end of this week.

Babiš, according to the PM, has a conflict of interest because, as Finance Minister, he is in charge of the Financial Administration, which is meant to investigate his personal purchase of Agrofert bonds for one Czech crown each at a time when he owned that company. Sobotka considers the Finance Minister continuing to lead the ministry to be unsustainable under the circumstances.

According to other ministers in the current cabinet, the best solution would be for the Government to continue in a state of resignation until the regular Parliamentary elections this autumn. Another option being considered is the appointment of a so-called technocratic cabinet which would be appointed and entrusted with governance by the President of the Czech Republic.

jal, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lety u Písku, Ministerstvo kultury, ministr pro lidská práva, Vláda



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