Czech political parties are presenting their views on the possibility of having a US missile base on Czech territory, even though Washington has not yet made known its preference on where it would like to station it. Both Poland and the Czech Republic are still in the running. The Social Democratic Party has said it wants a broad public debate on the issue and is pushing for a national referendum should the Czech Republic receive an offer from the United States. The Green Party said in a statement Sunday that a US military base should not be stationed on Czech territory on the basis of a bilateral agreement alone, but should involve NATO and the EU. The Civic Democratic Party alone appears to support the idea without reservations, but has not ruled out a referendum on the issue. The only opinion survey available on the subject suggests that 82 percent of Czechs do not want a US missile base in the Czech Republic.
Social Democrat deputy Miloslav Vlcek will make a public pledge to the lower house on Monday regarding his candidacy to the post of speaker. Mr. Vlcek's nomination to the post is part of an agreement aimed at breaking the deadlock on the Czech political scene. The centre right parties have agreed to support his candidacy on condition that he does not avail himself of the opportunity to select the country's next prime minister. Mr. Vlcek has promised to respect this deal and will pledge to resign his post under precisely defined conditions. His election to the post would open the door to the demise of the old cabinet and the appointment of a prime minister designate.
The deputy head of the Intelligence Service UZSI Jan Beroun has said it is time to revise the country's security structures. Speaking on a televised panel debate Mr. Beroun said that the threat of terrorism was creeping ever closer to the country's borders and that in the wake of the London events he felt it would be wise to revise the workings of the Czech security system - as regards legislation, organization and material assets - in order to asses its operability in the event of a terrorist attack.
Cuban leader Fidel Castro has an honorary doctor's degree from Prague's prestigious Charles University, and although the current university leadership would like to strip him of the title it is unable to do so, according to the daily Lidove Noviny. Fidel Castro received the honorary doctor's degree in 1972 during an official visit to then communist Czechoslovakia and Czech law does not present a means of stripping him of the title. According to the paper Charles University has stopped granting honorary doctorates to living politicians in order to avoid similar problems in the future. The Cuban leader was also honoured with the highest Czech state distinction - the Order of the White Lion.
The Green Party says its chief aim in the autumn Senate elections is to prevent the two strongest parties - the Civic and Social Democrats - from gaining a constitutional majority in the upper chamber. As the two strongest parties move towards reaching a deal on a new government the Greens and the Christian Democrats fear that they will join forces to push through an amendment to the election law which would threaten the existence of smaller parties. The Greens will run in 19 out of the 27 contested constituencies and they have offered to support Christian Democrat candidates in other constituencies. Constitutional amendments require a three-fifth majority in both chambers.
Czech political leaders have made a breakthrough in talks on the formation
of a new government, breaking a two months long deadlock. An agreement
reached on Friday envisages the election of Social Democrat Miloslav Vlcek
to the post speaker of parliament on a temporary basis, the resignation of
the old cabinet and the appointment of a prime minister designate, all
within a matter of days.
All parliamentary parties have agreed to the plan, although the centre
right parties have said they need guarantees from MP Vlcek that his
mandate would be temporary and that he would resign under precisely
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party has agreed to support a minority Civic Democratic Party government which would include both politicians and experts. The Social Democrats themselves would go into the opposition, and if all goes according to plan, party leader Jiri Paroubek would eventually become speaker of the lower house.
The leadership of the Social Democratic party has urged party members to take an active part in a discussion on the possible stationing of a US missile base on Czech territory. Party leader Jiri Paroubek said he wanted this issue to be one of the focal points of the party's campaign in local elections coming up in the autumn. The Social Democrats have been pushing for a national referendum on the US missile base to be part of an agreement with the Civic Democrats. Washington has not yet decided whether to locate the base in the Czech Republic or Poland, but the Czech foreign minister has indicated that some kind of offer will almost certainly be made. The only opinion survey available on the subject suggests that 82 percent of Czechs do not want a US missile base in the Czech Republic.
European decathlon champion Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic retained his title at the European championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, thanks to impressive performances in the long jump, high jump and 110m hurdles. The reigning Olympic champion and double world silver medallist finished on a season's best of 8,526 points after dominating the field in the 10 disciplines of the gruelling two-day event. He finished a massive 170pts ahead of Hungary's Attila Zsivoczky (8,356pts) in silver. Russian Aleksey Drozdov (8,350pts) took bronze.
Civic Democratic party leader Mirek Topolanek, who looks set to be the country's next prime minister, is now putting together a new cabinet. Ten of the cabinet seats should go to party members the remaining six will be filled by unaffiliated experts. A senior Civic Democratic Party official said the party was aiming to include two or three women in its cabinet set up. The choice of unaffiliated party experts will be consulted with the Social Democrats.
Czech right wing Petr Sykora signed a one-year National Hockey League contract to play for the Edmonton Oilers next season. Splitting last season between Anaheim and the New York Rangers, Sykora had a total of 23 goals and 28 assists in 74 games last season. The 2002 Czech Olympian scored 18 goals as a rookie with New Jersey in the 1995-1996 season and has surpassed 20 goals in each of the past seven seasons.