The outgoing Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty has decided to take legal action against the head of the European Democrats, a small right-wing party, MEP Jana Hybaskova, for having accused him of corruption without producing sufficient evidence. He told reporters on Thursday he would demand 5 million crowns. Jana Hybaskova has already apologised to Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil. Just before the Senate and local elections Mrs. Hybaskova accused the Civic Democratic Party of having asked for a three-million-crown bribe in a certain transaction - money which was allegedly intended for two Civic Democratic Party ministers and a deputy for that party.
Communist leader Vojtech Filip, who also met President Klaus on Thursday, said that he informed the president that his party sees a government of national unity as a way out of the political stalemate. He reiterated that the Communists are prepared to vote for a constitutional amendment allowing for early elections but he stressed it does not mean they favour such a solution. Mr Filip said the Communist Party would back a centre-left government of the Social Democrats and the Greens or a part of the Christian Democratic Party. According to the head of the Communist parliamentary party, Pavel Kovacik, the Communists will not support any kind of covert grand coalition of the Civic, Social and Christian Democrats, suggested in previous days by the Christian Democratic Party.
The arrival of first snow in the Czech Republic as well as freezing temperatures overnight have caused traffic accidents mainly on the D1 motorway between Prague and Brno as many drivers were caught off-guard. A 60-year-old man froze to death outside his house near Brno after drinking alcohol - the second victim of the season, according to the police. In previous days, snow appeared only on the mountaintops in the Czech Republic while on Thursday, larger areas across the country were covered by a thin layer.
The Czech Republic has decided to open its labour market to Romanians and Bulgarians when the two states join the European Union in January 2007. The announcement was made by outgoing Labour Minister Petr Necas who said that the Czech labour market must remain open to the newest EU members if Czechs, Poles, and other central Europeans are to gain the right to work in the western European countries where restrictions remain in effect. When the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, only the UK, Ireland and Sweden opened their labour markets immediately.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, has told President
Vaclav Klaus that his party is waiting for a chance to form a new cabinet,
an option they see as viable. Speaking after meeting President Klaus at
Prague Castle on Thursday, he said the Social Democrats were seeking a
coalition partner, not early elections. Mr Paroubek said the President did
not comment on the statement, nor did he indicate what his further steps
would be. Under the Czech Constitution, President Klaus is now to appoint
a new prime minister after a first attempt at forming a government failed
President Klaus has said earlier that he wants to see a government that will lead the Czech Republic to early elections, while enjoying the confidence of the lower house. On Friday, all five parliamentary party leaders are scheduled to meet jointly with Mr. Klaus at Prague Castle.
The Czech Republic is likely to reopen its embassy to Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra said on Thursday. However, it is planning to close down its embassy to the Democratic Republic of Congo and a consulate general in Montreal, Canada. Czechoslovakia's embassy in Kabul was closed in 1992. In recent years, the Czech Republic closed its office in Cote d'Ivoire and opened embassies to the DPRK, Moldova and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In all, the country has 122 diplomatic missions around the world, 90 of them embassies.
Both the Green Party and the Christian Democrats say they will back the constitutional amendment facilitating the dissolution of the lower house and early elections, but the two small parties differ as to the line-up of the cabinet which should lead the country to early elections. While the Greens would like to see a caretaker cabinet made up of unaffiliated experts, the Christian Democrats favour a cabinet representing all parties in the lower house with the exception of the Communists.
Czech men's tennis star Tomas Berdych has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Masters tournament in Paris. Berdych, the eighth-seeded Czech, cruised past America's Robby Ginepri 6-3, 6-3 in just 65 minutes on Thursday afternoon. He is going to face either Britain's Andy Murray or Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia.
Jana Hybaskova, leader of the European Democrats, a small right wing party, has apologized to Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil for having accused him of corruption without having sufficient proof. The justice minister is said to have accepted her apology. However Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty whom Mrs. Hybaskova also named in the case is pressing charges of slander. Just before the Senate and local elections Mrs. Hybaskova accused the Civic Democratic Party of having asked for a three million crown bribe in a certain transaction - money which was allegedly intended for two Civic Democratic Party ministers and a deputy for that party. Both ministers vehemently denied the charges and Mrs. Hybaskova was later forced to admit she did not have sufficient proof for her accusation and should not have named any names. The police are investigating the case.
As part of a round of new meetings with political party leaders, President
Vaclav Klaus has met with Christian Democratic leader, Jan Kasal. The two
men met at Prague Castle on Wednesday morning to discuss possibilities of
forming a new government. Mr. Kasal told the press that the Christian
Democrats are in favor of an agreement that would include the Social
Democrats, because this is the only way to avoid depending on the support
of the Communist MPs in the lower house. The Christian Democrats are in
favor of what they are calling a "rainbow cabinet" that would
join the Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats, with the Christian
Democrats playing a key mediating role between the two largest parties.
Early Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Klaus also met with acting Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. Mr. Topolanek says that the two men did not discuss who the President will charge with the second attempt to form a viable government. Mr. Topolanek's aim is to find an agreement between parties that would lead the country to early elections. The Civic Democrats' position on early elections has been publicly supported by the Christian Democrats as well as by the Green Party and the Communists. Only the Social Democrats have not yet agreed with this strategy as a way to overcome the political stalemate.
Meanwhile, President Klaus has not expressed his preference in terms of a solution to the political stalemate, but he has indicated that he wants to see a government that will lead the Czech Republic to early elections, and be able to win a vote of confidence in the meantime. Mr. Klaus will continue individual meetings with party leaders until Friday, when he has invited all five parliamentary party leaders to a meeting at Prague Castle.
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