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31-03-2019

Czech politicians congratulate winner of Slovakia’s presidential elections

President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš have congratulated Zuzana Čaputová on her victory in the Slovak presidential elections. The Czech head of state said he was looking forward to meeting with the newly-elected Slovak president while Prime Minister Andrej Babiš noted that she had fought a fair campaign and remained true to herself.

Czech Foreign Minister Petříček said on Twitter that Čaputová’s election to Slovakia’s top post signalled the country’s pro-European orientation and its interest in maintaining the best possible relations with its neighbours.

Congratulations have also come from leaders of the country’s parliamentary parties.

Liberal lawyer Zuzana Čaputová beat the ruling party-backed candidate and vice-president of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, to become Slovakia’s first female president.

Slovak president-designate says her first foreign visit will be to the Czech Republic

Slovakia’s president-designate, Zuzana Čaputová, has said that her first official visit abroad will traditionally lead to the Czech Republic.

Čaputová said she perceived the Czech nation as a “sister state” and respected President Miloš Zeman as the country’s legitimately elected leader.

President Zeman met with Čaputová’s opponent Maroš Šefčovič just days before the run-off, praising his experience and political know-how.

Czechs and Slovaks spent seven decades in a common state before separating in what was dubbed “a velvet divorce” in 1993. The neighbour states have maintained exceptionally close ties.

Politicians hope Čaputová will not undermine Visegrad unity

Some Czech politicians have expressed concern about the unity of the Visegrad group following the election of lawyer Zuzana Čaputová Slovakia’s next president.

President Miloš Zeman said via his spokesman that he hoped that bilateral relations and cooperation within the Visegrad Four would remain above-standard. The Czech president said ahead of the vote that the election of Čaputová’s opponent Maroš Šefčovič would be a guarantee of continuing close cooperation within the Visegrad group.

Civic Democratic Party deputy chair Martin Kupka said in a televised debate on Sunday that he hoped Zuzana Čaputová would communicate better with the ruling party Smer than the present head of state Andrej Kiska.

"The V4 is an important instrument in defending our interests in the EU and we need to preserve it," Kupka said. Czech politicians have been particularly concerned about this because of Brexit, since Britain was seen as a close ally in opposing federalist tendencies.

Prague mayor joins in criticism of trade minister over diplomatic incident

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib from the Pirate Party has joined in the growing criticism of Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková over an incident this week when a representative of Taiwan was forced to leave a diplomatic meeting at the trade ministry, at the request of the Chinese ambassador.

Mayor Hřib said the Chinese ambassador had made a similar request of him during a New Year’s meeting of the Prague leadership with the diplomatic corps and had been refused point blank.

A group of senators have called for the trade minister’s dismissal over the embarrassing incident, as has the Christian Democratic Party.

The minister has also come under fire from the head of the foreign affairs committee in the Chamber of Deputies, Lubomír Zaorálek, who said the minister should not have bowed to pressure and warned that the decision could set a dangerous precedent.

Politicians come out in defence of public prosecutors

Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček and Speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera have rejected politicians’ attacks on state attorneys.

In a debate on Czech Television the deputy prime minister said such attacks were ungrounded and unacceptable and expressed the view that state attorneys were doing a good job.

The statement comes in response to an attack by President Zeman on Olomouc chief attorney Ivo Ištvan who is in charge of a case of suspected corruption at the Czech anti-trust office and the firm Kapsch.

President Zeman suggested Ivo Ištvan was overly active in an effort to redeem his reputation after supervising a case involving former government chief-of-of staff Jana Nagyová which led to the fall of the Nečas government and which, according to the president, had come to nothing.

Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman stood up for public prosecutors on Saturday saying attacks against them were an attack on the legal order.

Plíšková beaten by Barty at Miami Open

Seventh-ranked Karolina Plíšková failed to claim her 13th career title at the Miami Open on Saturday, losing 6:7,3:6 to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.

The result places her fourth in the world rankings behind Petra Kvitová.

Plíšková, who ousted Barty in the fourth round of last year's US Open, had high praise for her opponent saying her performance throughout the tournament had been incredible.

“I was glad I could play in the final, and hope to be back stronger next year,” Plíšková said.

Weather forecast

Monday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.

31-03-2019