- Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said that his Civic Democrats started preparing for possible early elections weeks ago.
- Deputy leader of the coalition’s TOP 09 party Miroslav Kalousek says his party would consider forming a coalition with the Social Democrats should snap elections take place.
- Prague residents paid a silent tribute to homeless people who died from exposure over the winter months.
- The Czech police’s organized crime unit has busted a gang of human traffickers.
- Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek was defeated by his Serbian opponent in Friday’s Davis Cup quarterfinals.
PM: Senior coalition party has been preparing for early elections for weeks
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said, in an interview that was published in the weekend edition of the daily Mladá fronta dnes, that his party, the Civic Democrats, had been preparing for possible snap elections for weeks. Mr Nečas explained that the senior government coalition party started putting together an election campaign two weeks ago, for fear that spats over austerity measures would force the government to resign. In addition, he said, the trial of Public Affairs deputy Vít Bárta, the de-facto leader of the junior coalition partner, was a factor in the party’s decision to prepare for possible early elections. The prime minister said that the Civic Democrats were concerned that in the case of an acquittal, Mr Bárta would put the government under pressure in an effort to return to the cabinet. The verdict in the highly publicized corruption trial will be delivered next Friday.
Deputy TOP 09 leader: New coalition with opposition Social Democrats possible option
Deputy leader of the government coalition’s TOP 09 party, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, has said that his party would consider forming a coalition with the Social Democrats in the case of early elections. He added that while he would not welcome working together with the current opposition party, TOP 09 would prefer it if junior coalition partner Public Affairs quit the coalition. The party was pushing through its agenda in a way that damaged the government, he said. However, the TOP 09 leader added that the coalition needed the junior partner’s deputies’ votes to push through reforms that will work to improve the country’s prosperity and prevent it from sliding into a financial crisis.
Right-wing extremists gather for march through Roma neighborhood in Chanov
Far-right extremists from the Workers Party for Social Justice held a march through the predominantly Roma-inhabited neighborhood of Chanov in the suburbs of Most in Northern Bohemia on Saturday. Some 60 to 70 people joined the march; much fewer than had previously been expected. Some one hundred anti-right-wing protesters also gathered in the impoverished Chanov area but pledged that their demonstration would be a non-violent one. Police were monitoring the situation closely; there were no clashes between both groups.
Dozens of Prague’s residents pay tribute to homeless who died from exposure
Dozens of Prague residents paid tribute to homeless people who died from exposure in the winter months with a minute of quiet at the Woodrow Wilson statue near the Czech capital’s main station on Saturday. Among the participants of the gathering were some homeless men and women as well as people working for homeless charities. In honor of the homeless who died this winter was laid down near the statue. Organizers said that unfortunately, people living in affluent societies were getting used to the existence of abject poverty and that the event was meant to highlight the need for social change within Europe.
Police’s organized crime unit busts international gang of human traffickers
The Czech police’s organized crime unit has busted an international gang of men who were engaged in human trafficking, pimping and illegal drug production. The leader of the gang, a 30-year-old Czech, as well as the nine other members of Slovak, Ukrainian and Croatian nationalities, approached young women in crisis situations and led them to believe that they could offer them a lucrative job opportunity. The victims of the gang were forced to prostitute themselves along the E55 highway. Those who failed to make at least 150 euros per day were beaten and refused food. The men face prison sentences of up to 12 years; the gang’s leader is already behind bars for other criminal activities.
People from across the country contribute eggs to form record-sized egg sculpture
A record-sized egg sculpture composed of 45,000 individual eggs was created in Bludov, in the country’s Šumperk region near Olomouc, on Saturday. The huge egg object is over four meters tall and has a diameter of ten meters. It is composed of painted Easter eggs that have been tied together. People from across the country contributed to the record egg; some eggs were even sent in from abroad. This is the fourth such record from Bludov to make it into the Czech book of records.
Serbian player defeats Czech tennis veteran Radek Štěpánek in Davis Cup quarterfinals
Serbian tennis player Janko Tipsarevic beat his Czech opponent Radek Štěpánek in a stormy match in the Davis Cup quarterfinals in Prague’s O2 arena on Friday. He defeated the Czech tennis star 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 in an intense encounter. Tipsarevic drew Serbia level at 1-1 against the Czechs in their quarterfinal. In the cup, doubles in the best-of-five series take place on Saturday and reverse singles on Sunday. The winner advances to the semifinals in September. The game wrapped up with accusations of improper conduct. The Serbian player was pulled away from the net by his captain following a confrontation with Štěpánek. While the Czech player claims the two merely shook hands, Tipsarevic says that Štěpánek gave him the finger and told him that he stinks.
The Easter weekend is expected to be overcast and rainy with day temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius. Night time lows may drop below zero and snow showers are expected in the mountain regions.