The chairman of the Communist Party Vojtech Filip said on Thursday that the Social Democrat candidate for lower house chairman Lubomir Zaoralek cannot fully rely on the support of all Communist deputies in the vote, originally scheduled for Friday. The Communist Party's objection to Mr Zaoralek's candidacy is that he had initiated a resolution at the latest Social Democrat national conference that bans the Social Democrats from cooperating with the Communists.
The winner of the June national elections, the Civic Democratic Party, has said it is willing to negotiate with the Social Democrats, the second largest party in parliament, about the programme of the emerging coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens. The party said they would support a Social Democrat candidate for lower house speaker provided that agreement is reached on who will occupy the posts of deputy chairpersons and heads of the lower house committees.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has again called on all Czech nationals in Lebanon to leave the country amid Israel's continuing military operation against the country. It has also recommended to Czech citizens not to travel to Lebanon. A group of Czechs are expected to arrive in Prague on Friday and another group is travelling via Syria and Cyprus. The Czech government has decided to allocate 5 million crowns for humanitarian aid to Lebanon.
The Social Democrat candidate for lower house speaker, Lubomir Zaoralek, has said he is prepared to offer the post of prime minister to a Civic Democrat member. In case there is a third attempt at forming a new government, it is the lower house speaker who proposes the future prime minister. Mr Zaoralek said on Thursday, in such a case he would offer the post to a Civic Democrat member as a last possibility of preventing early elections.
The daily Mlada fronta Dnes writes that its reporters saw the police president Vladislav Husak drive his car at the speed of 190 km/hour on a road between the town of Karlovy Vary and Prague, substantially breaking the speed limit. Under the new transport law, Mr Husak should receive 13 penalty points, a 22,500-crown fine and his driver's licence should be taken away, the paper says. Mr Husak said he regretted what had happened and in a statement on Thursday, he said he was going to give up his driver's licence for three months and donate 10,000 crowns to charity.
The leader of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek and Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek said after a meeting on Thursday that the election of the lower house speaker, originally scheduled for Friday, would most likely be postponed until next week. Meanwhile, talks will continue on ways to remove the political deadlock produced by the June parliamentary election.
The Czech and Slovak armies have started preparing a joint unit within the European Union forces, Czech Defence Minister Karel Kuehnl said on Thursday after a meeting with his Slovak counterpart Frantisek Kasicky in Prague. Mr Kuehnl said the joint unit with 1,500 soldiers is expected to be ready to operate in peace-keeping missions anywhere in the world as of 2009. The two ministers agreed that the Czech-Slovak military cooperation remained on a high and above-standard level, citing the joint operation of both armies in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina and exchange of experience with the military reform.
The outgoing prime minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek
has said that his party has definitively rejected the centre-right
coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the
Greens. The party has called on the Civic Democrats to seek another
solution which would guarantee majority support in parliament. Besides,
the Social Democrats still want their member to occupy the post of the
lower house speaker. On Wednesday afternoon, the party proposed MP
Lubomir Zaoralek as their candidate for the post. The centre-right
coalition has decided not to field a candidate for Friday's election
when the lower house will attempt for the third time to elect a new
chairman, six weeks after the general election.
Should the lower house fail to elect a speaker in the near future, the Senate, the upper house of the Czech Parliament, will step in and call for early elections, its chairman warned on Tuesday. Speaking to journalists, Civic Democrat Premysl Sobotka said his party's senators proposed to hold a meeting next month at which the dissolution of the lower chamber will be discussed.
More Czech nationals have left Lebanon amid Israel's continuing military operation against the country. The foreign ministry has said the group should arrive in Prague on Wednesday night. The ministry at the weekend called on Czech citizens in Lebanon to report to the Czech embassy in Beirut and leave the country. According to estimates, several dozen Czechs remain in Lebanon.
The chairman of the Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, has admitted that a caretaker cabinet may be formed to govern the country until an early election. Mr Topolanek said on Wednesday he still hoped a government made up of party politicians was a viable option. The Civic Democrats received the largest share of the votes in the June parliamentary election and started coalition talks with the Christian Democrats and the Green Party. However, the emerging coalition has exactly half of the seats in the lower house and therefore would not receive a vote of confidence in the chamber.
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