The Civic Democratic Party’s leadership on Friday voted to expel MPs Jan Florián and Tomáš Ulehla as well as lobbyist Tomáš Hrdlička from party ranks. The two MPs were expelled for breaking party ranks during Wednesday’s vote of confidence in the Rusnok caretaker government; Hrdlička for having talked them into a last-minute change of stance. The move had no effect on the negative outcome of the confidence vote for the Rusnok administration but clearly demonstrated that the centre-right parties did not have a 101-vote majority in the lower chamber, dashing their hopes of establishing a new government.
Fresh storms overnight are reported to have caused considerable damage in the Pardubice region, bringing down power lines, damaging roofs, uprooting trees and flooding gardens and cellars. Firefighters in the Zlin region were also out in force throughout Friday night responding to 34 emergency calls. Despite several days of heavy storms which affected most parts of the country there have been no injuries or loss of life.
A flash poll commissioned by Czech Radio indicates that 72 percent of Czechs are in favour of snap elections. The poll conducted by the Median agency suggests that approximately the same number of respondents would go to the polls. If that were the case the next general elections could attract a record number of voters. Median notes that the fact that voters want early elections has not reduced support for President Miloš Zeman.
Ex-president Václav Klaus has ruled out his further involvement in Civic Democratic Party affairs. Responding to speculation that he could help the party he established in 1991 and headed for over a decade overcome its present crisis, Mr. Klaus told journalists his return was now out of the question. He said that the party had strayed from its course and in order to overcome its problems it needed to make fundamental changes both in ideology and leadership. In recent years Mr. Klaus has had a problematic relationship with the party he founded, giving up his membership in 2008 over disputes with his successor.
The former prime minister, Petr Necas, has employed his former chief of staff Jana Nagyova, as his personal assistant, according to Saturday’s edition of the daily Mlada fronta Dnes. Although the spying and corruption scandal in which she is alleged to have played a central role brought down his centre-right government Mr. Necas has stood firmly by his chief of staff with whom he is now in an open relationship. The Office of the Government terminated Jana Nagyova’s work contract on Friday. She will not be receiving any severance pay.
The smallest party of the former centre-right coalition, LIDEM, appears to be on the verge of collapse after its leader Karolina Peak unexpectedly walked out of the party following Wednesday’s confidence vote in the lower house. Ms. Peake, who left the assembly hall during the vote, said she no longer saw things eye-to-eye with the party leadership and could not remain in her post. The party, which has approximately 200 rank and file members, is to hold a party conference in the coming weeks to decide whether to run in next year’s general elections or simply break up.
President Zeman has said he will not delay the dissolution of the lower house once the motion is approved by the Chamber of Deputies. The president told Czech Television on Saturday that he had no reason to procrastinate in dissolving the lower house and calling early elections. He made the statement amid speculation that he might try to keep the Rusnok caretaker administration in office for as long as possible. Deputies are to vote on the dissolution of the lower house on August 20th, after which the proposal will be submitted to the president.
President Miloš Zeman and ex-president Vaclav Klaus ascended the highest Czech mountain peak Snežka in the Krkonoše Mountains on Saturday within the traditional St Lawrence pilgrimage. They joined several hundred people from the Czech Republic and neighbouring Poland for a mass celebrated out in the open by Cardinal Dominik Duka. The event was marred by a minor incident in which President Zeman’s critics and supporters exchanged words.
The bodies of a 36-year-old Czech woman and her eight-year-old daughter who died under mysterious circumstances in Hurghada, Egypt, have been flown back to the Czech Republic. Czech investigators have ordered a second autopsy following one which was conducted in Egypt. The police expect that the result should be known within several days. The deceased woman’s husband who himself ended up in hospital remains in Egypt as an investigation into the deaths continues. There has been speculation that the two were poisoned.
Czech title-holders Viktoria Plzeň have been drawn against the Slovenian side Maribor for the final round of qualification for the Champions League. The first leg is scheduled for August 20 or 21 in Plzeň, the second a week later in Slovenia. In the final round of qualifiers for the second-tier Europa League, Liberec has been drawn against Italy’s Udinese while Jablonec will play Real Betis.