The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has arrived in the Russian resort of
Sochi at the start of a five-day visit to the country. The official part of
his state visit begins on Tuesday with a meeting with the Russian
president, Vladimir Putin. As well as Sochi, the Czech president is due to
visit Moscow and Yekaterinburg.
Mr. Zeman is being accompanied by around 130 representatives of Czech companies and contracts worth over CZK 20 billion are due to be signed between them and Russian firms.
The newly elected lower house of the Czech Parliament began holding its
constituent session on Monday afternoon, 30 days after general elections in
which the winning ANO party took just under 30 percent of the vote.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, ANO chief Andrej Babiš said his party had
been left with no alternative but to form a minority government after being
“rejected” by the other groupings in the Chamber of Deputies.
Mr. Babiš said he would present his government’s policy statement to the other parties after he had outlined ANO’s intentions to President Miloš Zeman.
Negotiations to date suggest that Radek Vondráček of ANO will become be elected to the important speaker’s chair. The Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents have formed a group called Democratic Bloc and say they will not vote for Mr. Vondráček.
TOP 09’s Miroslav Kalousek said the vote on the speaker’s position would reveal who the real opposition was. Deputy speakers are also due being voted on, as is the composition of various committees.
On Monday it was decided that all of the record nine parties in the lower house would have seats on the 19-member Mandates and Immunity Committee. The session was then adjourned until Wednesday morning.
The Ministry of Finance has improved its estimate for gross domestic product growth to 4.1 percent this year and 3.3 percent in 2018. Officials said they had revised the outlooks upwards in view of the good shape of the Czech economy and international developments. In July the Ministry of Finance had issued estimates of 3.1 percent for 2017 and 2.9 percent for next year.
The Czech Republic’s representative on the European Commission, Věra Jourová, has presented proposals for a 40-percent quota for women on company boards. Under the ANO politician’s plan, firms whose non-executive directors are more than 60 percent male would have to prioritise women when candidates of equal merit were being considered. Ms. Jourová told The Guardian newspaper ahead of Monday’s announcement that women made up 65 percent of university graduates in Europe so it made sense to draw on that talent and investment. Previous EU efforts to introduce such a quota scheme were blocked by a number of states.
The Regional Court in Hradec Králové on Monday freed Lukáš Nečesaný,
who was charged with attempting to murder a hairdresser in the town of
Hořice in East Bohemia in 2013. Judges said there was insufficient
evidence to prove that it was Nečesaný who had committed the crime.
The latest trial was the fourth time the case, which has received a great deal of media attention, was heard in the courts. On the previous three occasions Nečesaný was found guilty. The state prosecutor may appeal Monday’s verdict, in which case the matter will go to the Supreme Court.
The Czech Republic is to build a modern new embassy in the Australian
capital Canberra, the first time it has carried out such a construction
project in 12 years, Czech Television reported. Several other Czech
diplomatic missions are due to get a makeover in the coming years. The work
will cost the state over CZK 1 billion.
The Czech Embassy in Canberra will be in the Deakin district, which is located near the centre of the city. Construction work will get underway in mid-2018, Czech Television said.
The last place where the Czech Republic built a new embassy was in Tiblisi, Georgia. It opened its doors in 2005.
Former tennis player Jana Novotná has died of cancer at the age of 49. The
WTA announced the news of her death, saying she had passed away surrounded
by her family in the Czech Republic on Sunday. The Brno-born player lifted
the title at Wimbledon in 1998 and won 12 Grand Slam women’s doubles
titles and four mixed doubles titles.
Jana Novotná became world doubles number one and singles number two in a career that also saw her win three Olympic medals and win the Fed Cup with Czechoslovakia in 1988.
A lower house seat won by the Civic Democrats in Central Bohemia was won by
Martin Kupka, not Petr Bendl as announced after last month’s general
elections. The discovery was made by the Supreme Administrative Court,
which carried out a recount of preferential votes in half of the region.
The finding does not alter the composition of the new Chamber of Deputies,
where the Civic Democrats are the second biggest party with 25 mandates.
The chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court panel, Tomáš Langášek, said on Sunday that both the Ministry of the Interior and legislators should respond to the shortcomings uncovered. Judge Langášek said if no changes were made the court might in future have to deal with more contested results, which would lead to paralysis.
The incumbent Miloš Zeman would receive 41.5 percent of the vote in a
presidential election if it were held now, suggests an opinion poll
conducted for Czech Television by the TNS Kantar and Median agencies.
Scientist Jiří Drahoš would come second in a vote for head of state at
the present time with 30.5 percent, followed by businessman and lyricist
Michal Horáček on 16.5 percent and former prime minister Mirek Topolánek
on 4 percent, the survey indicates.
The poll suggests Mr. Zeman would come first among supporters of ANO, Freedom and Direct Democracy and the Communists. Mr. Drahoš is favoured by voters of TOP 09, the Mayors and Independents, the Civic Democrats and – by a slim margin – Mr. Zeman’s former Social Democrats.