The speaker of the lower house, Social Democrat MP Miloslav Vlcek says he may postpone his resignation, originally planned for Wednesday, until after Friday's confidence vote. The Social Democrats announced last week they wanted Mr. Vlcek's resignation and the election of a new speaker to be put on the agenda of Wednesday's session of the lower house. They proposed Mr. Vlcek's re-election. The right wing parties have criticized the move saying that the Social Democrats were trying to get the upper hand in the lower house in view of a possible third attempt at forming a government should the centre-right government fail to win Friday's confidence vote. The speaker of the house has the right to nominate the prime minister designate in a third attempt to form a government.
A Czech judge has decided not to comply with a decision by the European Court of Human Rights concerning the wrongful placement of two children, claimed by their parents, in foster care. The judge ruled that the Wallas family's two youngest children should stay with foster parents in spite of the Strasbourg court's ruling in October attacking that decision by the authorities. Judge Jaroslava Novotna defended her decision saying there was nothing in the Strasbourg ruling that said the children had to be returned immediately to their parents and said she feared they would undergo a trauma if they were returned now to people who are essentially strangers to them. Strasbourg court rulings are mandatory for governments that have signed the European Convention on Human Rights which Prague ratified in 1993.
According to a poll just out, 59 percent of Czechs disapprove of the scandal surrounding the prime minister's private life. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they did not like the fact that the prime minister had built his election campaign around family-values, at a time when he already had a mistress. Only 15 percent said this was normal election campaign strategy. The prime minister recently announced he was leaving his wife for his mistress, who is expecting a baby.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has called a meeting that should discuss the country's foreign policy. He has invited Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra to Prague Castle for Tuesday. A spokesman said the meeting will discuss the priorities and coordination of Czech foreign policy.
The Czech Statistical Office has announced Czech industrial output rose by 7.6 percent in November on a year-on-year comparison after 12.8 percent in October. Output was 0.7 percent higher in November compared with the October figure, when the month-on-month rise was 1.2 percent. The transport equipment sector contributed most to the annual rise in production with output up 16.5 percent, followed by electrical and optical equipment, up 13.1 percent. The manufacture of basic metals and metal products fell by 2.2 percent over the year, the office added.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg says the Czech Republic supports Ukraine's bid to join the EU and NATO. Mr Schwarzenberg made the statement on Monday after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Borys Tarasyuk in Prague. The two ministers also signed a declaration on further cooperation between the two countries concerning foreign policy issues, agriculture and nuclear safety.
Prime Minister and Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek has met several Social Democrat MPs to discuss the policy statement of his new coalition government that is to ask for a confidence vote this Friday. Civic Democrat MP Petr Tluchor, who also took part in the talks on Monday, would not disclose the number or names of the Social Democrat deputies present at the meeting. However, Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek said in a statement on Monday afternoon he did not know about any such MPs. The centre-right coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens has only 100 votes in the 200-seat lower house of parliament. Without the backing or tolerance from the opposition ranks it does not have a chance to win confidence from the chamber.
Czech airline CSA announces it carried about 5.5 million passengers in 2006, 4.7 percent more than in the previous year. The number of passengers on scheduled flights rose on a year-on-year comparison by 3.4 percent to reach 4.7 million with charter passengers up 13 percent to nearly 800,000. CSA, the biggest airline in Central Europe, increased the number of flights by 1.1 percent last year to total 39,000.
A new poll by the SC&C agency suggests that two thirds of Czechs wish that President Vaclav Klaus be re-elected for a second term as head of state. According to the poll, President Klaus, who is 65, enjoys the strongest support among voters of the current centre-right government coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens. Women, people with university education and younger people prevail among his supporters. The Czech President is elected by both houses of parliament. The next election is to be held in early 2008.
Cross-country skier and Olympic gold medal winner Katerina Neumannova was named sportsperson of the year on Sunday evening at a special awards ceremony in Prague. Ms Neumannova was top choice by Czech journalists in the prestigious poll, earning more than 1800 points. Ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr came second in the poll, more than 400 points behind, while cross-country skier and Olympic silver medalist Lukas Bauer was third. In 2006 Neumannova triumphed in the 30 kilometre cross-country race at the Turin Olympics.
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New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
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