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ODS promises higher pay thanks to lower taxes

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Prague, April 22 (CTK) – The Civic Democrats (right-wing opposition ODS) offer lower taxes resulting in higher salaries and the abolition of the electronic registration of sales (EET), which Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) started introducing in 2016, in their election programme presented today.

In reaction, Babis said the tax changes that the ODS proposes would lead to an annual decrease of 100 billion crowns in state revenues. “To abolish the EET means to annually lose 18 billion crowns for pensions and the salaries of teachers, which we all want to raise,” Babis told CTK.

In its programme, the ODS promises to raise defence spending to 2 percent of GDP in six years and give 1 percent of GDP to culture. The military career should be more attractive for young people and more people should join reserve troops, the party says. It has expressed support for an update of the military equipment and for Czech arms makers.

The ODS rejects mandatory quotas for redistribution of refugees across the European Union, it opposes the limiting of arms holders’ rights and plans to fight drug crimes more resolutely.

The party says the Czech foreign policy is based on the country’s memberships in the EU and NATO. It believes that the Czech Republic should not be obliged to adopt the euro as its currency, that part of the powers should return from Brussels to the national level, and that further EU integration should rely on the free decisions of the national states.

“We belong neither among naive Euro-optimists nor among radical Euro-sceptics,” the ODS declares in its programme.

ODS founder and long-standing leader was Vaclav Klaus, known for his Euroscepticism. When Klaus was Czech president (2003-2013), he gradually stopped identifying with the party, however.

In their programme, the Civic Democrats want teachers to have an average monthly salary of 35,000 crowns and they also want the pay in social services to go up. The ODS promotes joint taxation of married couples, abolition of the road tax and the tax paid by those who buy real estate, and it is against progressive taxation and against special taxes imposed on banks or telecoms.

The ODS also wants to soften the law against smoking and abolish the recently introduced inclusive education at schools.

Referring to the new ODS program, Communist (KSCM) lower house group’s head Pavel Kovacik said it costs nothing to make promises to voters.

Economic analyst Lukas Kovanda said the ODS programme seems reasonable and most of it would improve Czech economy, but some parts of it are mere attempts to win over voters that have nothing in common with a genuine right-wing programme.

Economist Pavel Sobisek said the ODS program looks attractive at first sight, but it does not say where to find the money needed for the proposed steps and it presents no vision of a long-term development.

“Generally, the ODS appears to have an ambition to play the role of a protector of small traders, but the role of a leading force in society,” Sobisek told CTK.

($1=25.179 crowns)


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