Critical new construction law passes first test in Czech parliament
The new Czech construction law cleared an initial round of parliamentary negotiations, making it possible for further discussion. Opposition deputies tried to block legislation on procedural grounds, complaining that the Minister of Regional Development Klara Dostalova hadn't showed up for the discussions to answer questions as is customary. Dostalova has been working for years on the complicated new law with the goal of creating a single, state-level construction office and reducing the time it takes to get secure a construction permit to just one year. At the moment, it can take a decade for investors to get all the necessary approvals, thanks in part to the ability to opponents of any project to block proceedings on multiple occasions. "Over the past 13 years, we've made 26 amendments to the existing construction law," said deputy Premier Karel Havlicek. "As a result, we have over 20 types of construction offices, 10 types of planning procedures and we're 157th in the world for construction permits." The new law passed the first round of negotiations only because the government was supported by the Communist party and another nationalist grouping called SPD.