- The Social Democrats voted to keep a resolution that prohibits the party from forming a coalition government with the Communist Party.
- Slovak premier Robert Fico told Czech Social Democrats to consider forming a single-party government in case of victory in the 2014 elections.
- The last group of Czech soldiers has left Prague to join the EU training mission in Mali.
- A plaque commemorating former Czechoslovak president and general Ludvík Svoboda was unveiled in his hometown.
- Gabriela Soukalová claimed her third season and career victory at the Biathlon World Cup in Khanty Mansiysk.
Opposition votes not to allow coalition government with communists
The Social Democrats voted down a proposal to repeal a resolution that prohibits the party from creating a governing coalition with the Communist Party. Although the proposal received the support of only nine delegates at the party congress, the party’s chairman Bohuslav Sobotka has indicated in the past that he would consider forming a minority government with the support of the communists. The largest opposition party is currently expected to win the next parliamentary elections.
Dienstbier ousted as Social Democratic deputy chairman
Former presidential candidate Jiří Dienstbier lost his post as deputy chairman of the Social Democratic Party to the governor of the Plzeň region, Milan Chovanec, at the party congress in Ostrava. The vote on Friday night confirmed the other former deputy chairs - Zdeněk Škromach, Lubomír Zaorálek, Martin Starec.
After a second round of voting at the party congress, Alena Gajdůšková was elected as a deputy chairwoman of the party. The Social Democratic Party’s rules party’s rules require that at least one of the deputy chair-people must be a woman. Ms Gajdůšková, who is also the first deputy chairwoman of the opposition-controlled senate, beat out the former deputy chairwoman of the party Marie Benešová.
Fico suggests single-party government after elections
Speaking in front of the delegates at the Social Democratic congress on Saturday morning, the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that in the case of victory in the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Czech Social Democrats should consider forming a government without other parties, as his own party Smer decided to do after the 2012 elections. The Smer chairman emphasized that in order to overcome the current crisis, Europe needs to ascribe more to true social democratic values.
Social Democrats plan to introduce progressive income taxes, higher corporate taxes
The shadow finance minister Jan Mládek announced that if his party, the Social Democrats, will come to power after the parliamentary elections in 2014, they will introduce a progressive personal income tax with a highest rate of 38 percent of the gross salary. Speaking at the Social Democratic congress on Saturday, Mr Mládek said the Social Democrats will raises corporate taxes from 19 to 21 percent, and create a special 30-percent tax for large financial, energy and telecommunication companies.
Rest of Czech soldiers leave for Mali
Twenty-four of the total 34 soldier set to take part in a EU mission in Mali left Prague on Saturday morning. Czech troops will first be guarding the base for the EU training mission and later will also be helping in the training of Malian soldiers. This is the first operation in Africa for the Czechs. They will be spending a total of 15 months in Mali.
Commemorative plaque for Svoboda unveiled
A plaque commemorating former Czechoslovak president and general Ludvík Svoboda was unveiled in his hometown of Hroznatín in the Vysočina region on Saturday. A few hundred people attended the ceremony to commemorate soldiers of the First Czechoslovak Army Corp, which Svoboda commanded and which fought alongside the Soviet Red Army on the Eastern Front during World War Two. This week marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the battle of Sokolovo, during which Soviet and Czechoslovak troops were able to stop the German army’s advance into eastern Ukraine.
Soukalová grabs third season victory at Biathlon World Cup
Gabriela Soukalová claimed her third victory this season on Saturday at the Biathlon World Cup in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. The 23-year-old won the women’s 10K pursuit with two penalties, ahead of Russia’s Olga Vilukhina and Norway’s Olympic champion Tora Berger. Soukalová had also come first in the sprint on Thursday evening. Her first victory of the season, and the first World Cup gold of her career, came this past December when she won the women’s sprint in Slovenia.
The weekend will be mostly clear with some overcast spots and snow in places. Daytime highs should range between -1 and 3 degrees Celsius.