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Czech Republic

Yearbook 2016

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.

2016 Czech Republic

According to 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 reception.

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 a goal.

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 propaganda.

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 two.

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 Prague.

During the year, the Czech Republic was registered with the UN as the new official name for the Czech Republic.

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