The Civic Democratic Party of Vaclav Klaus has openly supported the head of
the commercial TV station NOVA, Vladimir Zelezny in his candidacy in the
upcoming senate elections. For several years, TV NOVA has been giving more
space to the Civic Democrats in its talk-shows than to other parties; the
party in turn supported Mr. Zelezny in his disputes with business partners.
Zelezny, who is 57, launched the successful TV station in 1994. His breaking from an American investor triggered a series of arbitration proceedings against the Czech Republic for failing to protect foreign investment. Zelezny himself has been charged with an attempt to cheat a creditor and with tax evasion.
The deputy president of the Czech police Miroslav Antl has resigned to his post. Mr. Antl had been drinking before causing a traffic accident in the east Bohemian town of Pardubice on Thursday. A breathalyser test proved that Mr Antl was over the limit when the crash occurred. Observers say Mr. Antls case could serve as a good example for Czech officials and politicians who usually do not even think of resigning after committing an offence.
The deputy president of the Czech police Miroslav Antl could be dismissed if it is proved that he had been drinking before a traffic accident in the east Bohemian town of Pardubice on Thursday. A source told the CTK news agency that a breathalyser test proves that Mr Antl was over the limit when the crash occurred, though a police spokesperson said that the incident was still under investigation.
The ruling Social Democrats are planning to present the electorate with a list of four names from which to choose the party's candidate for president, Health Minister Marie Souckova said on Friday. They are former prime minister Milos Zeman, ombudsman Otakar Motejl, former justice minister Jaroslav Bures and Charles University professor Martin Potucek. It is believed that the Social Democrats decided to allow the public to pick their presidential candidate because elements within the party feared that the outspoken Mr Zeman might win an internal party vote. The public vote will take place on October 22 and 25. The term of the current president, Vaclav Havel, ends in January, and his successor will be chosen by both houses of parliament.
The opposition Civic Democratic Party have officially announced their support for independent Senate candidate Vladimir Zelezny, a television tycoon who controls the Czech Republic's most popular commercial station, Nova. The chairman of the Civic Democrats branch in Znojmo, the constituency where Mr Zelezny is running, said the party did not know of a better candidate, adding that it did not matter that the TV magnate was not from the region.
The Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, who's on a one-day visit to Afghanistan, has told the command of the International Security Assistance Force that a substantial number of Czech military medical personnel stationed in Kabul will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year. Although the work of the Czech military field hospital is highly appreciated by local citizens, Prime Minister Spidla said the Czech Republic could not afford its further operation. Mr Spidla also said that at the beginning of next year a Czech special operations unit would arrive in Afghanistan, if approved by the Czech Parliament.
Twenty-two municipalities in the Melnik region north of Prague are aiming to prolong a state of alert to help in the continuing clean-up of damages caused by August's catastrophic floods. The state of alert should remain in place until the third week of October. Clean-up crews are still trying to remove damaged material from post-flood areas, but new damages were recently discovered on some structures, and some areas remain dangerous for inhabitants and livestock. The issued state of alert grants local officials wider authority, including the right to call up those doing national service for the clean-up effort. Before taking effect, the state of alert must still be confirmed by the Czech government.
The Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has welcomed the outcome of an EU-commissioned report according to which the controversial Benes decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of 2.5 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after WWII, do not pose an obstacle to Prague's bid to join the European Union. The European Parliament commissioned the study after Austrian and German politicians demanded that Prague revoke the Benes decrees since they were incompatible with EU laws. Speaking to journalists in Brussels, the Czech Foreign Minister said he hoped that this clear legal stand would remove all lingering doubts and prevent further disputes on the matter.
At an intergovernmental EU conference in Brussels on Tuesday the Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda presented his country's stand on the five remaining chapters of the EU accession process. According to Mr. Svoboda Prague is still hoping to negotiate a better deal on agriculture where the proposed production quotas are far below the sector's current needs. The Czech government has given the EU negotiating team a clear mandate and fall-back positions that are regarded as a minimum for the Czech agricultural sector to be able to survive competition on EU markets. The 12 EU candidates present at the meeting all expect a positive evaluation of their membership bids in the EU's annual progress report due on October 9th.