Future members of the minority cabinet of the Civic Democratic Party have articulated their concrete ideas of what to do after they are appointed. For example, future labour minister Petr Necas said work on the pension reform must be started and changes should be implemented in the welfare system that would motivate people to actively seek employment. Future local development minister Petr Gandalovic is planning to change the system of drawing money from EU funds. Mr Gandalovic says the Czech Republic needs to speed up the drawing for the years 2004-2006 as there is a big delay in some financial programmes and the country might have to return the money to Brussels.
Prime Minster designate and Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek has said his government's programme is to be based on the outcomes of previous negotiations of his party with the Christian Democrats and the Green Party and also with the Social Democrats. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Topolanek said the new cabinet's programme copied that of the so-called three-party-coalition, that is a coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens who tried to put together a cabinet after the June election but failed as the Social Democrats refused to tolerate such a government. Mr Topolanek's cabinet will be appointed on Monday. In order to receive confidence in the lower house, Mr Topolanek will need to gain the support of at least one opposition MP in the vote that is scheduled for October 4th.
Civic Democrat deputy chairman Petr Necas has said that if the new cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek fails to receive confidence from the lower house, a fresh attempt at forming a new cabinet should take place after the Senate and municipal elections which will be held in late October. Mr Necas said that an attempt to put together a new cabinet before the elections would be too risky for his party.
The Czech Republic beat Wales 2:1 in a Euro 2008 Group D qualifying match on Saturday. Substitute David Lafata scored twice on his international debut. The Czechs went 1:0 up when the 24-year-old Lafata headed in Libor Sionko's pass from close range in the 76th minute, little more than a minute after he came on. In the 85th, Czech defender Martin Jiranek knocked a cross into his own net from close range for the Welsh equaliser but Lafata scored his second four minutes later, also from close range after a pass from Sionko. The Czechs play away against Slovakia on Wednesday, while Wales are at home to the Slovaks on October 7.
Mr Topolanek also said Social Democrat leader and outgoing prime minister Jiri Paroubek has no chance to successfully form a cabinet after his talks with the Christian Democrats about a Communist-backed cabinet collapsed two weeks ago. Mr Topolanek said that Mr Paroubek had lost his chance to form a new cabinet by negotiating a Communist-supported government with former Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek, a step which resulted last week in Mr Kalousek's resignation from the post of Christian Democrat chairman.
Saturday's edition of the Mlada fronta Dnes daily writes that the chairman of the Communist Party and deputy chairman of the lower house employs as his assistant Frantisek Hanzalik who was trained by the KGB in the 1970s. Referring to secret documents from the Interior Ministry archives, the daily says Mr Hanzalik was to be planted as a spy in the West. According to the paper, in the 1980s he was the head of the communist secret police chapter in the town of Ceske Budejovice where Mr Filip himself was registered under the cover name of Falmer. Mr Hanzalik has declined to comment.
More than 200 candidates, a record number, have put themselves forward for
election to the upper house of the Czech Parliament ahead of a vote
scheduled for the end of October, authorities said on Friday. In all 204
candidates will compete for the 27 seats up for grabs, beating the
previous record of 197 set in 2004. The Czech Republic elects its senators
every two years, when a third of the 81 seats become available. Observers
say the elections will be an important political indicator after the
country's June general election left the lower house split evenly between
right- and left-wing parties.
One of the candidates is Pavla Topolankova, the wife of the prime minister designate Mirek Topolanek, who is standing on a platform openly hostile to her husband's right-wing Civic Democratic Party.
President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday he would appoint the cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Monday afternoon. Civic Democrat chairman and Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek met President Klaus on Friday at Prague Castle, and presented to him a list of the members of his minority government. The new cabinet is to have 15 ministers, 9 of them members of the Civic Democratic Party and 6 unaffiliated, and prepare the country for early elections. The new cabinet is expected to ask the lower house for confidence on October 4th. It is unclear whether it will receive confidence owing to a perfect split between the rightist and leftist blocks in the chamber.
Police say they have broken up an illegal techno party near the town of Slany in Central Bohemia. The party was attended by some 150 people. Following complaints by the locals about loud music and disturbing the peace at night, the police intervened in the early hours of Saturday and the organisers agreed to end the party.
Prague city hall has announced that it will move a commercial event originally due to take place on Prague's medieval Charles Bridge following an outcry against it. The French fashion company Louis Vuitton had signed a deal to rent the bridge on September 8 and 9 to host the last stage of a vintage car event. The proposed closure of the bridge, crossed every day by thousands of tourists and locals, created a storm of protest from politicians, monument preservationists as well as the public. A Prague city hall spokesman said on Friday that the Louis Vuitton event will be transferred to one of the embankments along the Vltava River.