The Czech Parliament’s lower house approved a proposal drafted by Communist lawmakers to tax the compensation that the country’s churches receive for property seized by the former Communist regime.
After the Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, they confiscated all the property owned by churches, which were allowed to function only under strict state control.
According to a 2012 law, the nation’s churches, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish community, are to receive around 75 billion crowns over 30 years to compensate for property seized by the state.
A power-sharing deal that Babiš, signed with the maverick Communists last year gave them a role in governing for the first time since the country’s 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution. The taxation was one of the Communists’ key conditions.
Babiš argues that the compensation is too generous and needs correction.
The upper house, which is controlled by the opposition, is expected to reject the Communist plan. But the Communists and the coalition formed by Babiš’ centrist ANO movement and the leftist Social Democrats hold a majority in the 200-seat lower house and can override such a veto. The anti-migrant, populist Freedom and Direct Democracy party also joined forces with the Communists.