A little over half of the population believe that two Social Democrat MPs who made it possible for the centre-right coalition government to gain a vote of confidence were disloyal to their party, an opinion poll suggests. Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka left the Chamber of Deputies to give the ruling coalition's Civic Democrat, Christian Democrat, and Green Party MPs a majority during Friday's vote. In the poll conducted by the STEM agency, 52 percent of respondents said the two MPs betrayed their party, while 48 percent believe that their decision was right and responsible.
The EU needs a new, simpler, and more comprehensible constitution document that will allow the union to work effectively even after further expansion, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says. Speaking in the same Czech TV interview, Mr Topolanek said the Czech Republic would not ratify the European Constitution agreement in its current form. The ratification process of the document was halted after France and the Netherlands rejected it. However, Germany hopes to revive the document during its EU presidency and the issue is expected to be one of the main points of discussion during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Prague on Friday.
Lucie Safarova gave a stunning victory against defending champion
Amelie Mauresmo of France in the fourth round of the Australian Open on
Sunday. The 19 year old Czech who ranks 70th in the world will play
Nicole Vaidisova, seeded 10th, in the quarter-finals. Vaidisova
defeated Russian seventh seed Elena Dementieva to become the
highest-ranked player in that half of the draw. It will be the first
all-Czech women's quarter-final in a grand slam since Denisa Chladkova
played Jana Novotna at Wimbledon in 1997.
In the men's third round matches carried over from Saturday's rain suspensions, Czech 13th seed Tomas Berdych - Safarova's boyfriend - overcame Russian Dmitry Tursunov and will face third seed Nikolay Davydenko on Monday.
Some 7,000 homes are still without electricity after gale-force winds damaged reception points on Thursday night. According to electricity giant CEZ, the power supply to most of the one-million people who were left without electricity has been resumed but repairing the damages caused in mountain areas or distant isolated places will take another day or two.
The coalition government of the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats, and the Greens, will discuss all planned reform with the opposition and trade unions. In a Czech TV interview on Sunday, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said the debate will have to take place simply because the coalition does not have a majority in the lower house of Parliament and relies on the vote of at least one opposition MP. Mr Topolanek also reiterated that the opposition Social Democrats will be offered posts in commissions formed to put some of the reforms in place.
Czech ski-jumper Jan Mazoch is in stable condition after a strong gust of wind threw him off balance making him hit the hill hard with his head during Saturday's World Cup competition in the Polish Tatra resort of Zakopane. He is now in a special clinic in Krakow where he was put into artificial coma, a measure often applied with such injuries.
The newly elected Agriculture Minister, Petr Gandalovic, will propose to government to increase the quota for forest harvesting. Recent gale-force winds have devastated an estimated 70 percent of the annual quota, covering an area of 5 million cubic metres. Mr Gandalovic says the measure is imperative to avoid a catastrophic spread of engraver beetles that attack fresh wind-felled trees.
Thousands of homes around the country are still without electricity
after gale-force winds cut the power supply to some one-million people
on Thursday night. Electricity giant CEZ says most reception points are
back in operation but it will take longer to repair the damages caused
in mountain areas or distant isolated places.
In related news, Prague Ruzyne airport's North 2 terminal, the roof of which was damaged by the wind on Thursday night, has been reopened and the airport is back in full operation.
Czech Olympic champion Katerina Neumannova came in second in the 15km mass start freestyle cross-country race in Rybinsk, Russia, on Saturday. Neumannova crossed the finish line in just over 39 minutes 20 seconds, which was 1.4 seconds behind winner Riitta Liisa Roponen of Finland. Only 28 athletes took part in the event, as many national teams preferred to save their strengths for the world championships in Sapporo, Japan, which is held in less than a month.
Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek would like the country to adopt a
law against political "defection". In the northern town of Liberec on
Saturday, Mr Paroubek said an example of what he has in mind is
legislation from pre-war Czechoslovakia when courts were able to
investigate whether a politician joined a different party sincerely or
because he was bribed, for example. A politician who left for the
latter reason could then have been stripped of his mandate.
Mr Paroubek was reacting to the result of Friday's confidence vote in the lower house. The centre-right coalition won the vote after two Social Democrats left the chamber to give the opposition a majority. Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka, though, have not "defected" as they are still members of the Social Democratic Party.