The Social Democrats have launched a campaign that accuses the Civic Democratic Party of having made false promises ahead of last year's general elections. With new billboards and ads, the party says the Civic Democrats - the senior partners in the governing coalition - tricked and deceived citizens. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, for example, is accused of only lowering taxes for the wealthy; Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Necas is criticised for lowering parental benefits; and Health Minister Tomas Julinek is attacked for making children and pensioners pay for visits to the doctor. The main motto of the Social Democrats' campaign is: "The government is working against you."
Former Czech president and human rights activist Vaclav Havel will take part in a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with a Kurdish businessman who is trying to clear his name in a Czech court. In 1994, Dr. Yekta Uzunoglu was accused of torturing, kidnapping, robbing and attempting to murder two Turkish nationals living in the Czech Republic. He spent two and a half years on remand in police custody until he was suddenly released with no explanation. Several renowned Czech figures including Mr Havel and actor Zdenek Sverak have pledged solidarity with Mr Uzunoglu who has been trying to clear his name since 1995.
Former chairman Milos Zeman has officially notified the Social
Democratic Party's office in South Moravia's Nove Veseli that he is
leaving the party. According to the head of the local office, Mr Zeman
writes that he will under no circumstances join any other party. Mr
Zeman decided to quit because he believes that current leader Jiri
Paroubek initiated criminal proceedings against him over a case in
which a lawyer is suing the party over unpaid fees. Mr Paroubek denies
being behind the lawsuit and says Mr Zeman's resignation is a desperate
attempt to influence an upcoming party conference at which a new
leadership is elected.
Mr Zeman led the Social Democrats for eight years and helped make the party one of the strongest forces in Czech politics. He was prime minister from 1998 to 2002.
Last year saw the biggest population increase since 1993, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office. For the first time in thirteen years, the number of births exceeded the number of deaths. At the end of 2006 the population had risen by 36,000 to reach 10,287,189. Figures also suggest that the average length of survival in the Czech Republic will be six months longer than in 2005. The life expectancy at birth is currently 73.4 years for males and 79.7 years for females.
Members of the Prague City Hall assembly have voted in favour of
bidding to hold the 2016 Olympics in the Czech capital. On Thursday, 50
members supported the proposal, 10 members opposed it and 7 abstained
from the vote. In the two-hour heated discussion that preceded the vote
Prague Mayor Pavel Bem stressed that a bid will not be placed if
further studies find that the Games would leave the city heavily
indebted. He added that the assembly's decision is only the second of
ten steps that will be taken before the city makes its final decision.
Prague has until September to make its bid and will compete against cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Dilly, Tokio, and Rio de Janeiro.
Czech Police chief Vladislav Husak says accusations against him are so
serious that he will either be dismissed or will resign himself. Mr
Husak is accused of having warned key suspects in a number of
corruption cases ahead of their planned arrest and leaked sensitive
information to a Russian agent. He has rejected the allegations.
Interior Minister Ivan Langer is seriously considering Mr Husak's dismissal. Speaking on radio Impuls on Thursday, he said the problem surrounding the head of the police is affecting the entire force. Mr Langer will discuss the situation with Mr Husak on Friday.
A group of opponents to the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia have announced that they will file a lawsuit against the power giant CEZ on Friday. The group, which has formed an association, says CEZ is violating the law on atomic energy by operating a plant with a technical system that fails to make nuclear safety a priority. The lawsuit will call for Temelin's immediate closure.
In related news, lawyer Zdenek Altner says the Social Democrats have violated a court ruling by putting a down payment on a party conference that is scheduled for this weekend. Mr Altner, who is suing the party for over 19 billion crowns in unpaid fees, claims that a court in January prohibited the Social Democratic Party from doing anything that would reduce its assets. Mr Altner is in the process of trying to force the party to file for bankruptcy.
Former chairman Milos Zeman has announced he is quitting the Social
Democratic Party. The Czech Press Agency reported that Mr Zeman made the
decision after learning that current leader Jiri Paroubek had initiated
criminal proceedings against him over a case in which a lawyer is suing
the party over unpaid fees. For his part, Mr Paroubek said Mr Zeman's
resignation was a desperate attempt to influence a party conference next
Mr Zeman lead the Social Democrats for eight years and helped make the party one of the strongest forces in Czech politics. He was prime minister from 1998 to 2002.