Public Affairs (political party)
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Public Affairs (Czech: Věci veřejné, VV, nicknamed véčkaři) is a conservative-liberal political party in the Czech Republic. Its main platform is transparency and opposing political corruption It had 24 seats in the 2010-2013 Chamber of Deputies. The party was formerly led by anti-establishment investigative journalist and writer Radek John, its current leader is Jiří Kohout.
Besides opposing corruption, the party is fiscally conservative. It has a number of right-wing populist policies, without opposing immigrants, but a proportion of its small membership is closer to the centre-left. The party is interested in direct democracy – the members of the party can change the course of the party by Internet referendums, and has a pro-European Union position.
Founded in 2001, the party has concentrated on local politics in Prague, particularly Prague 1, for most of its existence. In June 2009, Radek John was recruited as its chairman, and it emerged in late 2009 as a contender in the 2010 election, polling above the 5% threshold for winning seats, and above the KDU-ČSL and Greens on occasion. John competed with Karel Schwarzenberg for the title of the country's most popular politician.
In the election, it received 10.9% of the vote, easily clearing the 5% threshold, and won 24 seats. The party was in a governing coalition with the country's two other centre-right parties: the Civic Democratic Party and TOP 09.
In April 2011, Vít Bárta, Czech Minister of Transport, was accused of bribery by his colleagues from Public Affairs, deputies Jaroslav Škárka, Stanislav Huml, and Kristýna Kočí. The deputies were subsequently expelled from the party. The incident caused serious problems in the Czech government coalition.
The lawsuit involving several members and deputies of the party began to be debated in court on 5 March 2012. Vít Bárta was accused by the State Prosecution of bribery and Jaroslav Škárka of receiving a bribe.
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