ANO 2011 and the Christian Democrats released a joint- statement on Thursday saying that either they would enter a new government together or not at all. After their meeting, representatives from both also said that they shared many programme priorities; ANO’s Věra Jourová confirmed they shared common ground on around 80 percent. ANO 2011 and the Christian Democrats (who are returning to the lower house after a 3.5 year absence following last week’s elections), are waiting for the election winners the Social Democrats to establish a new negotiating team. They have, however, already met with party leader Bohuslav Sobotka, who survived calls from within his own party at the weekend to step down. ANO and the Christian Democrats have made clear there are three possible options moving forward: entering a coalition with the Social Democrats which would give them a 111-seat majority, staying in the opposition, or backing a minority Social Democrat government.
After half-a-year’s absence 32 year-old Czech forward Martin Havlát returned to the ice on Wednesday for the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks lost 4-3 in overtime to the L.A. Kings but lead in the NHL. Havlat’s return was welcomed by the team captain; at the club another Czech player, 19 year-old Tomáš Hetrl, has so far had an excellent season, not long ago scoring four goals in a single game, one of them a sensational between-the-legs shot that beat New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, spent Wednesday night in hospital
because of a knee injury. The head of a team of doctors looking after Mr
Zeman, Health Minister Martin Holcát, said that following an accident,
blood had swelled in the president’s knee and required neurological
tests. Those have since confirmed that Mr Zeman will have to use a
wheelchair and rest up for several weeks. Consequently, he was advised to
cancel planned foreign trips. On Thursday, Mr Zeman was released from
hospital care and
for the presidential chateau in Lány.
Regarding the cause of the accident, the health minister explained that the president had stumbled in the dark at night while heading for the bathroom; he said alcohol had not been a factor, which lab tests had confirmed. Mr Zeman is a heavy smoker who suffers from diabetes; doctors needed to take steps to minimalise potential threats, such as thrombosis or lung embolism.
Social Democratic Party deputy leader Michal Hašek, who admitted to lying
publicly this week about a secret post-election with President Miloš
Zeman, made clear on Wednesday he would not step down. He and other senior
Social Democrats Zdeněk Škromach, Jeroným Tejc and Jiří Zimola all
with the president at a secret meeting last weekend; Mr Hašek had
maintained such a meeting never took place.
Following Wednesday’s admission, the party’s chairman Bohuslav Sobotka said that either he or Mr Hašek would have to go and said a meeting of the party’s executive committee (set for November 10) would resolve the matter. Mr Hašek, in reaction, compared developments within the Social Democratic Party to a “witch hunt”. On Thursday, he himself apologised and said he would weigh possible steps on November 10.
The Supreme Court has ruled that three former Civic Democratic Party MPs – Petr Tluchoř, Marek Šnajdr, and Ivan Fuksa – cannot be prosecuted for alleged corruption, saying parliamentary immunity covered actions outside the lower house. The three are suspected of receiving bribes in the form of lucrative posts in state companies in return for having allowed the former government to survive. The decision follows a similar ruling by the court earlier this year. In its ruling, the Supreme Court turned down a proposal by state prosecutor Ivo Ištvan who had tried to push ahead with criminal proceedings against the three. By contrast, the Supreme Court ruled that the former prime minister, Petr Nečas, could still be charged.
Social Democrat chairman Bohuslav Sobotka will lead the talks on forming a
new Czech government for the time being, as the party had not yet agreed
on a new negotiating team, Mr Sobotka and deputy chairman Milan Chovanec
reporters on Thursday. Only the party’s central executive committee, due
to meet on November 10, will be able to approve the final team, they said.
The party leader also apologised to voters for developments since last
Saturday’s election, when 20 members called on Mr Sobotka to resign over
a weaker-than-expected election result.
Above all, Mr Sobotka stressed the party would move quickly to resolve a current split, not wanting to complicate party talks. The Social Democrats are to lead negotiations primarily with two other parties, ANO and the Christian Democrats. Together they could form a coalition commanding a comfortable majority of 111 in the 200-seat lower house.
Halloween has continued to gain in popularity among Czech pre-schoolers and schoolchildren, according to Czech Radio. Increasingly, various towns, nursery schools, as well as private venues hold events; this year, zoos and botanical gardens are among those to have prepared special programmes for children including pumpkin carving, lantern processions and masquerade balls, Czech Radio said.
The leader of the party that came second in the elections, ANO 2011, says they would “tolerate” a government of which they were not a member, if the cabinet adopted some of their policies. ANO chief Andrej Babiš made the comments in an interview for Czech Television on Wednesday. The Slovak-born billionaire said his party did not wish to participate directly in government, but added they would consider their options. In their first general election, ANO took over 18 percent of the vote.
The first of the meeting’s participants to say that it occurred says that those who lied about it should quit the leadership of the Social Democrats. Deputy chairman Milan Chovanec said that another member of the party leadership had informed him several days in advance that the meeting with President Zeman would take place. One of the meeting’s participants, Jiří Zimola, said Mr. Zeman had asked the group to keep it secret. A wing of the party surrounding Mr. Hašek is believed to be close to the head of state.
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