Czech prime minister in resignation mode, Andrej Babiš, has said he will
attempt to speed up negotiations over the formation of a new government.
He said on Friday that he would seek to inform president Miloš Zeman about progress by the end of March. Talks with the Social Democrat party are scheduled next week.
President Zeman said a day earlier that he was becoming concerned about the lack of progress on creating a new government since elections at the end of October.
These gave a clear victory to Babiš’ ANO party well but short of majority in the lower house. The ANO leader failed a first attempt to win a confidence vote but has been promised a second attempt by the president.
Massive interest in purchases of Rolling Stones concert tickets for a
Prague performance caused the sales server to collapse.
The booking site collapsed under the pressure within minutes of opening for business on March 9. Buyers had to be redirected to a second site where they were warned that they might have to wait in line for up to two hours.
The Rolling Stones are due to play in Prague as part of their No Filter tour on July 4.
The band set a Czech record in 1995 when around 130, 000 attended their Prague performance in a sports stadium.
The Václav Klaus Institute, created by the former president and politician
of the same name, has joined the chorus of criticism against current Czech
head of state Miloš Zeman over his inauguration speech.
The foundation said that Zeman, starting a new five year term in office, used the occasion to vent his revenge and settle accounts. During is speech on Thursday, Zeman devoted considerable to attacking Czech businessman Zdeněk Bakala and his media empire as well as public broadcaster Czech Television.
The institute added that Zeman chose the wrong occasion for such a speech. It added that he made little effort to look to the country’s future or even refer to the fact that this year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.
Zeman followed Klaus into office as president during his first term as head of state.
The Czech Republic had a 11.9 billion crown surplus in the trade in goods
in January 2018. Exports rose by 0.4 percent and imports by 4.2 percent
compared with the same month in 2017.
The latest figure is 9.4 billion lower than the surplus during the same month in 2017.
One of the main factors in the diminished surplus was a significant 3.7 billion drop in the exports of vehicles as well as higher deficits in trade of basic metals and agricultural products.
That was offset slightly by a 1.9 billion crown dent in the deficit for crude petroleum and natural gas.
The pace of Czech inflation slowed in February to an annual 1.8 percent,
down from January’s 2.2 percent, according to the Czech Statistical
That is the lowest annual rate of inflation since November 2016.
Among the main factors depressing higher inflation were a slowdown in prices of many food items and drinks. Phone services also became cheaper. Some of the biggest price rises over the month were for utilities and rents of flats and other accommodation.
The Czech central bank has a target inflation rate of 2.0 percent.
The pace of yearly average gross wage rises speeded up in the last quarter
of 2017 to 8.0 percent, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Friday.
In real terms, discounting inflation, the rise was 5.3 percent. The average gross monthly wage was 31,646 crowns.
Average monthly wages for the whole of 2017 rose by 7.0 percent to 29,504 crowns.
The median wage, the level at which most people are earning removing part of the distortion from high earners, in the last quarter rose by 8.9 percent to 27,320 crowns.
Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický paid homage Friday to former
diplomat and minister Jan Masaryk to mark the 70th anniversary his death on
March 10, 1948. Stropnický laid a wreath at the foreign ministry’s main
building in Prague.
Masaryk, the son of the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, fell to his death from the palace a few weeks after the communist coup in which they took over power in post war Czechoslovakia. The suspicious circumstances of his death, described at the time as suicide, have never been fully cleared up.
Members of the public will be able to visit the commemorative bust of Jan Masaryk at the Černínský Palace ministry building on Friday and Saturday.
In football, Viktoria Plzeň lost in the first leg of their Europa League
last 16 away tie against Portuguese team Sporting Lisbon 2:0.
Both goals were scored by Montero. The result leaves the Czech club with a major challenge to get through to the quarter finals when they play at home in a week.
Manager Pavel Vrba said Lisbon’s individual quality showed through in the first leg and suggested the Czechs would have to score quickly in the second leg to stand a chance of overturning the deficit.
The lower house is meeting to debate the extensive personnel changes made
by the outgoing Babis government.
The right wing Civic Democrats, who initiated the special session, argue that a government without a confidence vote should adopt a caretaker role and does not have a mandate to make far-reaching changes in personnel or other areas.
The Civic Democrats would like the lower house to pass a resolution to that effect, but such a proclamation would not be binding and Andrej Babiš has already said he would not respect it.
His government, which failed to win a confidence vote in the lower house, has come under fire for dismissing a large number of people in key posts in government administration and state-owned agencies and companies.