On November 27 the Czech Constitutional Court partially repealed a law that punishes unemployed people who refuse to accept “compulsory” jobs. “The fundamental ruling abolishes community work that the unemployed must do without pay,” writes the dailyLidové noviny.

As a result, the government must now amend the law that forced anyone who had been unemployed for more than three months to accept or find work for 20 hours a week as a street sweeper or school groundskeeper, or risk having their unemployment benefits or social benefits cut off. The objective of the law, in force since January 2012, was to lower the number of long-term voluntarily unemployed and reduce moonlighting. In October, there were 496,762 unemployed, or 8.5 per cent of the active population. The newspaper says that in its view, the Constitutional Court

also compared the authorities' treatment of the unemployed to those made to do forced labour. People had to work without pay, often wearing the same coloured vests as convicts and people under other sanctions, which is an affront to their dignity. According to the judges, such treatment was inconceivable, considering that the same people had held down a job for years or decades. What's more, the tasks were chosen at the discretion of the authorities.

This repudiation by the Constitutional Court came as the implementation of another major reform, the first direct election of the President of the Republic, ran into controversy. It all leads Lidové novinyto describe the Czechs as a “nation of Constitutional do-it-yourselfers.”