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01-11-2017

Babiš selecting candidates for minority government

ANO leader Andrej Babiš says he has selected candidates to fill seven or eight cabinet posts in the minority government he is forming. Speaking on Wednesday, Mr. Babiš said he had a few names in mind for the post of minister of defence, with the ANO incumbent Martin Stropnický tipped to take over at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Babiš is at present seeking adepts for the posts of minister of education, industry and trade and culture. Some ANO ministers will hold onto the portfolios they had in the outgoing government.

On Tuesday President Miloš Zeman charged Mr. Babiš with forming a government after ANO took almost 30 percent in general elections. The head of state said he would allow the party to rule without having to win a vote of confidence, a move that critics say breaks with long-standing tradition.

Meanwhile, the leadership of ANO have called on the party’s regional governors who have also been elected to the Chamber of Deputies to choose one position and resign from the other. On Tuesday the party’s Jaroslava Pokorná Jermanová announced she was giving up her seat in the lower house and would only serve as governor of the South Bohemia Region.

Chovanec: ANO offering committee chairmanship to Social Democrats

ANO have offered the Social Democrats the chairmanship of one of the committees in the lower house, the latter’s acting leader Milan Chovanec said after a meeting with ANO's Andrej Babiš on Wednesday. Mr. Chovanec did not say which committee was under discussion.

The senior Social Democrat said that ANO had not set any conditions with regard to the offer. Mr. Chovanec also said that the election winners were continuing to demand the post of speaker of the lower house, for which they have proposed Radek Vondráček.

The Civic Democrats, who came second in the elections, have suggested party leader Petr Fiala for the post.

Central bank expected to raise interest rates on Thursday

The Czech National Bank is set to discuss interest rates on Thursday, with most economists expecting its board to an announce an increase, the Czech News Agency reported. Experts say that the central bank is most likely to raise interest rates by 0.25 of a percentage point, but they have not ruled out a rise of double that amount.

The CNB increased interest rates for the first time in eight years in August.

The bank will also issue a macroeconomic prognosis on Thursday and economists expect it to revise previous estimates for GDP growth and inflation upwards.

Ban on drinking in streets to be extended to whole of Prague 1

Local politicians in Prague 1 have given their agreement to a blanket ban on the consumption of alcohol in the streets of the city centre district, Novinky.cz reported. A new version of a long-standing edict was prepared by Prague City Hall and approved by Prague 1 officials on Tuesday, the news site said. Current fines of CZK 1,000 are set to increase to CZK 10,000.

A hitherto ban on alcohol consumption in Prague 1 has targeted selected streets, but the new edict will apply to the entire district. People will also be barred from carrying open bottles in set places, if the move wins final approval from City Hall.

Brno joins UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Brno has been accepted as a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, which fosters cooperation among cities that support creativity “as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development”. The Moravian capital is the second Czech city to make it onto the list, which has just been expanded to take in 64 new locations.

Brno is included in the UNESCO network as a “creative city of music” while Prague features in its literature category. A total of 180 cities in 72 countries are involved.

Singer Kubišová performs final concert on 75th birthday

Marta Kubišová will appear on stage for the last time in her native České Budějovice on Wednesday night. The singer is making her final public performance on her 75th birthday. She bade farewell to audiences in Prague on Friday.

A pop star in 1960s Czechoslovakia, Kubišová was banned by the Communists and became a symbol of resistance to the Soviet occupation. Her performance of her trademark song A Prayer for Marta to a packed Wenceslas Square during the 1989 Velvet Revolution reflected the enormous changes that were taking place at that time.

Weather forecast

It should be rainy in the Czech Republic on Thursday, with temperatures of up to 13 degrees Celsius expected. Daytime highs of around 11 degrees Celsius and mostly overcast skies are expected in the following days.

01-11-2017