In related news, leaders from the leftist opposition are meeting with Mr Zeman on Saturday: the Social Democrats and the Communists are expected to renew their call for early elections. Polls suggest that those would most favour the opposition Social Democrats; according to a survey released on Friday, their rivals the Civic Democrats would face an historic defeat if the elections were held now. Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes suggests that the president on Tuesday could confer the task of forming a new government to Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka. He, however, made clear earlier that he would turn down such an offer. The Social Democrats want to form the next government based on election results.
Representatives of the Communist Party, leader Vojtěch Filip and Miloslava Vostra met for roughly an hour and a half with the president on Saturday, discussing the possibility of early elections. Mr Filip said after the meeting in his view other solutions would only deepen the current political crisis. According to the party leader, the president said he was glad to hear their stance, even though he will only make public his decision on how to proceed on Tuesday. The possibility of a caretaker government with Communist Party support was not discussed.
American singer and jazzman Bobby McFerrin and the Czech Philharmonic held an open-air concert on Prague’s Old Town Square on Friday that was seen by 10,000 people, according to estimates. The concert on the packed square was free. Soloists included violin virtuoso Josef Špaček, clarinetist Tomáš Kopáček and violin cello player Jan Keller. The concert lasted 90 minutes and ended with a rendition of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.
Rastislav Maďar, the president of a Czech organisation focusing on infectious diseases and tropical medicine, has warned that families with children who under the age of two years should avoid exotic destinations or less developed parts of the world for risk of illness. Citing statistics from inoculation centres, he suggested that India, Nepal, Peru and less-traveled parts of Thailand were riskiest for toddlers, where they could pick up diarrhea, inner-ear infections, respiratory illnesses, fever, and heatstroke, to name a few. Mr Maďar also told the Czech news agency that an additional factor was poor or less-reliable health care in areas.
An express train heading from Turnov to Malá Skála hit a fallen tree in the early hours of Saturday; no one was injured in the accident – busses are being provided as alternative transport, the spokesman for Czech Railways said. The locomotive, luckily did not derail although the vehicle was damaged. Malá Skála is to see an influx of visitors on Saturday afternoon travelling to the first edition of a new local rock festival, this year featuring performers Richard Muller, Mig 21, Anna K and others.
Two new paths for cyclists will be added in the city of Plzeň within the Greenways projects thanks to EU funds. Pedestrian, cycling, and rollerblading have been expanded along the city’s four rivers since 2006. By the end of 2014 an additional 1.7 kilometres will be added at the cost of 27 million crowns the Plzeň’s Mayor Martin Baxa said.
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins face off in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday evening. Chicago will have home-ice advantage in what has so far been a closely-fought series. The Blackhawks won the last game to even the best-of-seven match-up at two apiece. Both clubs feature the talents of Czech players: the Bruins’ David Krejčí leads in the post season on points, while future hall-of-famer Jaromír Jágr has proven effective on key plays. At the same time, he has suffered a scoring drought.
President Miloš Zeman has started a series of meetings with party leaders with regard to the ongoing government crisis. On Friday afternoon he received the Civic Democratic Party’s nominee for prime minister Miroslava Němcová and acting party leader Martin Kuba at his residence in Lány. It will be up to the president to decide who will be given a chance to form the next cabinet. The president has not indicated whether he plans to give the outgoing centre-right coalition another chance to form a government. Mr. Zeman plans to meet with the leaders of all parliamentary parties over the weekend and will make his position known at a press conference on Tuesday.
TOP 09 on Friday officially accepted Miroslava Nemcova as the centre-right coalition’s joint nominee for prime minister. However the party conditioned its approval by a meeting of coalition leaders on Sunday and stressed the need for the Civic Democrats to lose no time in proposing a suitable replacement for the post of speaker of the lower house. The acting chairman of the Civic Democrats Martin Kuba said his party would be willing to consider a TOP 09 candidate for the post.
The public trust rating of the centre-right Civic Democrats has dropped to an all time low in the wake of a crippling corruption scandal that resulted in the demise of prime minister Petr Necas and his resignation as party leader. According to the results of a flash poll conducted in the wake of the scandal, the Civic Democrats would only get 8 percent of the vote in general elections. The Social Democrats would win the elections with 29,3 percent of the vote and the Communist Party would come in second with 16.1 percent. TOP 09 would come in third with 15 percent. The only two other parties who would make it past the 5 percent margin needed to win seats in Parliament would be the Christian Democrats with 7.5 percent and the Party of Citizens’ Rights with 6.6 percent.
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