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Prime Minister Spidla's Cabinet meets for last session under his leadership

Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla officially tenders his resignation as prime minister and leader of the Social Democrats at the cabinet session on Wednesday evening, which will also see the entire cabinet resign. Speaking to journalists, Mr Spidla said he would send his written resignation to President Vaclav Klaus on Thursday morning. Mr Spidla decided to step down from both posts after he narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in him as party leader just weeks after his party's dramatic defeat by the Eurosceptic opposition in the European Parliament elections earlier this month. Although he said he would stay active on the Czech political scene, he refused to comment on speculation that he could be the next speaker of parliament or succeed European Commissioner Pavel Telicka in Brussels in the autumn.

Vladimir Spidla to temporarily head Justice Ministry

The President's office confirmed on Wednesday that outgoing Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla will temporarily take over control of the Justice Ministry. At the beginning of the week, Mr Spidla sent a letter to President Klaus informing him about the "urgent need to ensure the post of Justice Minister" following the resignation of the entire government. Although the current government will continue to administer the country until a new government is named, the post of Justice Minister is empty as no one had been appointed to succeed Karel Cermak who resigned from the post earlier in June.

President Klaus to start talks on new government on Thursday

President Klaus on Thursday will begin talks with the leaders of the Social Democratic Party (the biggest party in parliament), the Christian Democratic Party (the junior ruling coalition partner), and the senior opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats. After a round of talks, Mr Klaus will most likely name acting Social Democrat leader Stanislav Gross prime minister-designate. A day before the talks, President Vaclav Klaus reiterated he would not appoint a government backed by the Communists. In an interview for the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes he also said he believed it would not be possible to form a government from the three ruling coalition parties due to weak support in parliament. President Klaus is the former leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, who won most seats to the European Parliament and are pushing for early national parliamentary elections.

Lower House approves anti-chemical troops join security force at Athens Olympics

The lower house of the Czech Parliament has agreed to send some 100 soldiers to Greece to be part of the security force at the Olympic Games in Athens. If the plan is approved by the Senate, the soldiers specialised in anti-biological and chemical warfare would stay in Greece from July 28 to September 30 at a total cost of 30.3 million Czech crowns (some one million Euros), to be covered by the Czech Republic, Greece, and NATO. To help optimize security during the Olympic Games this summer a Czech anti-chemical unit helped train 48 Greek soldiers in June.

Buenos Aires Deputy Mayor visits Prague to attend Kafka Borges Festival

Buenos Aires Deputy Mayor, Jorge Telerman, arrived in Prague on Wednesday to attend the last few days of the Kafka-Borges/Buenos Aires Prague Festival, which comes to an end this Saturday, on the 121st anniversary of Franz Kafka's birth. Some of the remaining highlights of the festival, which explores the lives and works of Franz Kafka and Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, will be a night of Tango at the Senate Gardens on Thursday with performances by mezzo-soprano Dominique Devaux Blazkova and the Argentine Luis Borda Quartet.


Thursday is expected to have partially clear skies with day-time temperatures reaching a maximum of 27 degrees Celsius.