Inflation reached 3.9 percent in March up from 3.7 in February, the Czech Statistical Office said on Friday. The rise is fueled primarily by the soaring price of eggs on the Czech market. Egg prices went up by 67 percent in March. According to analyst Petr Dufek this is the first time that a single product has directly impacted inflation. Other contributing factors are the price of petrol and cigarettes.
Culture Minister Alena Hanakova has also spoken out against the idea of scrapping ministries, saying that scrapping the ministry of culture would not save a significant amount of money and could result in the neglect of many priceless cultural monuments. Minister Hantakova also pointed out that scrapping the culture ministry could further complicate the restitution of church property. She said the ministry would seek ways to further reduce its expenses.
Traffic police will be out in force for the long Easter weekend which traditionally increases road mortality figures. A police spokeswoman said several hundred officers would be put on duty along the country’s main roads and highways with the road safety-operation focusing primarily on drink-driving and speeding. Eighteen people died on Czech roads over the Easter weekend last year.
The Prague branch of the junior coalition party Public Affairs has called
on party leader Radek John to resign. They blame him for the party’s low
credibility and argue that the party leadership needs new blood in order to
regain public trust. Mr. John is perceived as a puppet of Vit Bárta, the
head of the party’s deputies club, who financed the party’s
establishment and masterminded its success in the last general elections.
Mr. Bárta, who formerly owned the biggest security agency in the country,
has been accused of infiltrating business into politics. He is now being
tried for corruption.
The party’s Prague branch also voiced support for the party’s three ministers who defied an order from the broad party leadership to resign, saying that to do so would have been a big mistake.
The trial against Public Affairs de-facto leader Vít Bárta went into its final stage on Thursday. Mr Bárta faces corruption charges related to payments he made to Public Affairs deputies. The hearings on Thursday continue with the testimony of Public Affairs MP Kristýna Kočí, as well as a recorded phone conversation in which top party officials discuss the pension reform. If convicted, Mr Bárta will face up to six years in jail. The court is expected to deliver a verdict on Friday.
According to snap surveys from the Median Agency, some 80 percent of the Czech population would welcome early elections. Another 16 percent of respondents polled said they were against this solution to the current government crisis, while the remaining four percent said they were not sure what the best solution was. Should snap elections take place, about 50 percent said they would prefer them to be held in the summer, while 39 percent said early elections should be held in the fall, in conjunction with the Senate and regional elections, which are set to take place in autumn.
Top party officials from the government coalition’s Civic Democrats and junior coalition partner Public Affairs on Thursday announced that in their effort to find common ground, they had not yet managed to reach an agreement. Prime Minister Petr Nečas said a decision on the future of the government, which found itself in the midst of a crisis precipitated by Public Affairs earlier this week, could be expected on Tuesday, as had previously been announced. Previously, Public Affairs officials said the party would quit the coalition by the end of the month unless the number of ministries was reduced by three and the coalition agreement was revised.
Galatasaray Istanbul and Czech international striker Milan Baroš broke his nose at his team’s training session and underwent surgery to fix it, the Turkish club’s website reported on Thursday. The accident reportedly took place when Baroš clashed with defender Gökhan Zan. The 30-year-old footballer is out for at least one game of the Turkish Süper Lig and might have to wear a protective mask when he returns.
President Václav Klaus met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Prague on Thursday. The Czech head of state said that he wanted to make the EU project “Eastern Partnership” with six former post-Soviet nations a real partnership, which he currently does not consider it to be. He added that he hopes other EU member states would make an effort to get the initiative off the ground. The two heads of state also discussed the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a landlocked area in the South Caucasus that is the subject of a long-standing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Mr Klaus showed understanding for the Azerbaijani position, stating that he would not appreciate it either if a part of his country’s territory was occupied by someone else.
In related news, the government coalition seems to be considering reducing the number of ministries by three. Sources from inside both the Civic Democrats and Public Affairs on Thursday told the Czech News Agency ČTK that the culture, environment and regional development ministries could be scrapped within the government’s cost cutting measures. Under this new plan, the Ministry of Culture could be merged with the Education Ministry, while the other two ministries would fall under the Ministry of Agriculture. Should the coalition go ahead with this step, each of the three coalition parties would loose one portfolio.
Forgotten Czech net bag makes a comeback
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Iconic Czech brands that survived competition from the West after the fall of communism
Škoda unveils 4th-generation Octavia ahead of model’s 60th anniversary
15 years later – was ending military service right move for Czech Republic?