The Prague Stock Exchange saw a fall of 5.6 percent on Tuesday, as world
markets suffered turmoil in the wake of the collapse of one of America’s
largest investment banks and the takeover of the world’s biggest
brokerage firm. In an extraordinary move, trading in shares in real estate
company ECM and mining firm NRW were suspended as both lost over 20
of their value. On Monday the value of shares on the Prague Stock Exchange
dropped by 4 percent. An analyst from Patria Finance told the Czech News
Agency there were no signs the fall in share prices on the Prague bourse
A member of the board of the Czech National Bank, Mojmír Hampl, told Reuters that the indirect impact of the crisis on the Czech economy could be more severe than originally feared. Mr Hampl also said the fact growth estimates for Europe were constantly being revised downwards was bad news for the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic and Ukraine have a common view on the recent crisis in Georgia, the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, said after talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in Kiev on Tuesday. The Czech Republic regards Russia as the aggressor in the conflict. Mr Topolánek said Ukraine’s head of state had a very tough outlook on the matter, more so than the Ukrainian prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, with whom he also held talks. Ms Tymoshenko discussed several issues with her Czech counterpart, including energy policy; she said Ukraine could help the Czech Republic diversify its sources of energy.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Jiří Paroubek, said on Tuesday he was convinced Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s cabinet would fall by the end of this year. Mr Paroubek said the best solution in that case would be a caretaker government which would hold office until after the Czech presidency of the European Union, meaning the middle of next year. Senior Civic Democrats have also spoken about the possibility of an early election, saying they would not ask for the support of any rebel MPs, especially not Mr Tlustý.
The Czech Republic won a total of 27 medals at the Paralympics in Beijing. The Czech team took six gold, three silver and 18 bronze medals. The last of those medals – a bronze – was won by Rostislav Pohlmann in the javelin, F57/58 category. Pohlmann set a new Czech record in the event with a throw of 39.85 m. He also has a bronze medal in the discus. One day of the games remains but the Czech team will not be competing in any of Wednesday’s events.
The Social Democrats would receive the backing of 32.6 percent of the electorate, suggests a poll carried out by the STEM agency at the beginning of this month. The Civic Democrats would be supported by 22.3 percent of voters, followed by the Communist Party with 11.8, the Greens with 8.4 percent and the Christian Democrats with 5.8 percent, indicated the survey, which was released on Tuesday.
The Green Party has called for an internal coalition commission into a
blackmail and entrapment affair involving Vlastimil Tlustý and Jan
who are members of the biggest party in the coalition, the Civic
The latter quit the Chamber of Deputies last week after it emerged he had
bought staged compromising photos of Mr Tlustý, who had played an active
role in a sting recorded by tabloid TV station. Mr Morava also gathered
material in order to blackmail a rebel Green Party MP, Olga Zubová.
Senior Civic Democrats have been calling on Mr Tlustý (who has frequently been in dispute with them since being passed over for a cabinet post) to resign over his part in the scandal, though he says he has no intention of going. On Monday MP Juraj Raninec, a close associate of Mr Tlustý’s, quit the Civic Democrat’s deputies group over the party’s handling of the affair, which he said had not been properly investigated. He said, however, he would continue to vote with the government, which now has 99 seats in the 200-seat lower chamber.
Another of Mr Tlustý’s allies, Jan Schwippel, is also reported to be considering leaving the deputies group. He was due to hold talks with the its chairman on Tuesday, but postponed the meeting.
A proposal by Regional Development Minister Jiří Čunek to place members of the country’s Roma community into three categories, with the lowest being forced to live in supervised centres, has been described by Romany groups as a ploy ahead of regional and Senate elections. Mr Čunek won a Senate seat – and the leadership of the Christian Democrats – two years ago, after forcing Romany rent defaulters out of the centre of a town where he was mayor. With more than a month to go until the elections, Čunek is already playing the Romany card, Zdeněk Ryšavý of the Romea civic association said on Tuesday. The proposal has little chance of being considered by Jiří Čunek’s cabinet colleagues.
Two MPs from the smallest party in the coalition government, the Greens, say they will remain in its deputies group if certain conditions are met. The MPs, Věra Jakubková and Olga Zubová, are at odds with the party’s leadership. They said on Tuesday they would stay in the Greens deputies group, if it allowed open discussion on subjects not covered by the coalition agreement and the government’s policy programme.
In related news, Czech President Václav Klaus has weighed in on the current scandal rocking the Civic Democrats. In comments made to the media, Mr Klaus, who established the party in the 1990s, stated that the current scandal was symptomatic of the emptiness of current politics which remain excessively focused on turf wars and power struggles. Fellow Civic Democrats were quick to distance themselves from the analysis. Prime Minister Topolánek, Interior Minister Ivan Langer and several other senior Civic Democrats publicly denied that Mr Klaus’s characterization was applicable, stating that that description was of a bygone era and not the current situation. In an interview with the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny, Mr Topolánek stated that the era of the opposition agreement between the two major parties from 1998-2002 – a time when Mr Klaus led the party – was a time in which politics and business were unhealthily interwoven. The comments underline increasing tensions between Mr Klaus, the current honorary head of the Civic Democrats and Mr Topolánek.
The former Czech prime minister and current Euro commissioner Vladimír Špidla has expressed a wish to walk across Europe. The comments were made on Mr Špidla’s online blog, where the Euro MP wrote “One day, when I will have the time, I hope to put on some mountain shoes and crisscross Europe by foot.” He also added that since working in Brussels, he tries to find time at least once a week to take a long walk in the city. A number of Brussels politicians have their own blogs.
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