Czech unions have expressed support for a coalition agreement covering
of the nascent centre-left government. Václav Picl, the deputy chairman
the union umbrella organisation ČMKOS, told journalists on Monday policy
priorities generally corresponded with that of the unions. Josef
the head of the strongest trade union KOVO, meanwhile, went further,
the coalition agreement was the best the country had seen in the
In particular, union leaders welcomed the planned increase in the minimum wage, the abolition of private pension schemes (the so-called second pillar of pension system created by the previous centre-right government) and more support for families with children. Critics have charged that the emerging coalition, however, has not outlined how many planned changes will be paid for. On Monday, representatives of the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats are meeting to discuss ministerial posts in the emerging government.
President Miloš Zeman says he bears the greatest responsibility for the failure of his Citizens’ Rights Party-Zemanites in October’s general elections, when the grouping took just 1.51 percent of the vote. Speaking on TV Nova, Mr. Zeman said if there had been a marked difference between results in different regions the blame would have attached to individual local leaders; as this was not the case, the failure was due to a common reason: himself.
The board of works at city hall in Prague 6 announced on Monday it had given the go-ahead for the demolition of the communist-era Hotel Praha, considered a landmark by some historians. The decision can be appealed, otherwise, demolition of the building will begin in January, the hotel’s owners PPF revealed. The demolition of the building is to make way for a park for pupils of an elite school, both elementary and high school levels, run by the company. Hotel Praha was built at the end of the 1970s and was used by members of Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party and members of the government.
A police search for a 14-year-old and her 11-year-old cousin who went missing in Prague on Sunday is over. Both were found safe in the town of Mnichovo Hradišťe, east of the capital, apparently in a local park. The police are investigating details. The two had gone for a walk on Sunday but failed to return home. Their families began searching for the girls first on their own before contacting the police at around 11 PM.
Monday saw competitors drawn for the next stage of football’s Champions
League as well as the second-tier Europa League next spring. No Czech team
made the final 16 stage in the Champions League, but two high-profile
players – midfielder Tomáš Rosický (Arsenal) and star goalie Petr
Čech (Chelsea) – will see action. Arsenal will face Bayern Munich (the
same as last season) and Chelsea, Turkish club Galatasary.
In the Europa League, Slovan Liberec face the Dutch club Alkmaar, while Viktoria Plzeň face a tough opponent in Shaktar Donetsk.
The deputies club of ANO, one of the parties in negotiations on the new government, officially approved a coalition deal with the Social and Christian Democrats on Monday. The club also formally approved party leader Andrej Babiš to negotiate posts in the new cabinet. According to the head of the party’s deputies club, Jaroslav Faltýnek, the party chairman was not ‘bound’ to negotiate on concrete ministries, a reference to tactics taken by the Christian Democrats who are trying to secure the Agriculture Ministry for one of their candidates. Among ministerial posts in the government, ANO are expected to run the Finance Ministry.
The state Lands Registry is investigating whether 11 religious orders and one bishopric have the right to the return of property under church restitution legislation, Lidové noviny reported on Monday. Officials are examining the archives in order to establish whether they were stripped of their property under post-war decrees, which would rule out the return of property, or by the Communist regime. Around 150 restitution claims from the religious subjects have been put on ice while the investigation continues. Assets totaling CZK 75 billion are being handed back to churches, along with CZK 60 billion in financial compensation.
Former First Lady Livia Klausová officially took up the post of Czech ambassador to Slovakia on Monday, after presenting Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič with her credentials. Mrs Klausová, wife of former president Václav Klaus, succeeds former ambassador to Bratislava, Jakub Karfík. She was put forward by the current Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, leading to some speculation that the post was a reward for her and her family strongly supporting Mr Zeman’s presidential campaign.
Eight competitors, out of roughly 500 at in international Taekwondo tournament in Pelhřimov, had to be treated in hospital for injuries suffered. None of the injuries were serious, news website iDnes reports, although one youth briefly lost consciousness. Taekwondo is a full-contact martial art, meaning kicks to the head are permitted. The organiser said injuries were not uncommon in the sport and that all participants wore helmets and protective padding. He pointed out that the aim was to score points – not to hurt opponents.
A deal by the Czech Republic to sell 24 L159 training jets to Iraq for more than 20 billion crowns has fallen through, financial daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday. According to the newspaper, the country lost out to South Korea’s Korean Aircraft Industries, who signed a contract with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last week. The Korean firm succeeded even though media reports had suggested the Czech sale was almost a “done deal”. The Czech Republic had hoped to see the creation of more than 700 new jobs at home had a deal been reached. The sale of the Aero Vodochody planes was discussed for several years.