Czech Republic. Czech eccentric President Miloš Zeman got
into new controversy during the year. In January, he was
condemned for a joke that only one election or a Kalashnikov
rifle could remove Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The head
of government responded that the Czech Republic was probably
the only country in a civilized world where the president
publicly called for the prime minister to be killed.
However, Zeman's popularity figures were high, not least
because of his opposition to Muslim immigrants.
countryaah, the government decided to send 6,500 automatic weapons
with ammunition to Iraq for the fight against the Islamic
State terrorist group (IS). Jordan also received weapons
supplies. Sobotka justified the decision that the war
against IS was important in stopping the flow of refugees to
Europe. In an opinion poll, 65% said no to Czech refugee
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Czech Republic
in March, a political success for President Zeman who wanted
to strengthen the Czech Republic's relations with the
Russian Federation and China. At Xi's visit, an agreement
was reached on strategic cooperation with increased trade as
In May, Parliament rejected a government proposal to
impose a smoking ban on the country's bars. Some members of
the government coalition voted against the proposal, and
Sobotka accused them of going to the tobacco industry.
Zeman opposed Sobotka's promise that the Czech Republic
would receive 80 Syrian asylum seekers from a camp in
Turkey. After Islamist terrorist attacks in Europe during
the summer, Zeman said that the Czech Republic should refuse
to accept refugees to ensure that they could not carry out
barbaric attacks. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš was also
against Sobotka's promise, saying he did not intend to
respect the EU's decision on refugee quotas.
In September, the Security Service claimed that Russian
intelligence was waging an information war in the Czech
Republic by building networks of agents that could be used
to destabilize the country. Russian forces tried to
influence the Czech media regarding the conflicts in Ukraine
and Syria, it was called. The government decided to create a
unit at the Ministry of the Interior to counter Russian
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš got into trouble in
September when he denied that Lety's concentration camp had
been used as a death camp for Roma during World War II.
According to historians, 326 Roma were killed there. Prime
Minister Sobotka demanded that Babiš apologize and feared
that a delicate border between populism and Nazism had been
crossed. Babiš fell into disrepute and apologized.
Babi's populist party Ano (Disgruntled Citizens' Action)
had great success in the local elections in October when it
won in nine regions and Sobotka's Social Democrats only in
Before the US presidential election, President Zeman
declared that he would have voted for Donald Trump if he had
the right to participate. When Trump was elected, Zeman said
he was happy about Trump's victory and shared his view on
migration and the fight against Islamist terror. Zeman also
said that Trump's ex-wife Ivana Trump, who was born in then
Czechoslovakia, would be the best choice as US ambassador to
During the year, the Czech Republic was registered with
the UN as the new official name for the Czech Republic.