Social Democrat party leader Stanislav Gross is due to begin meeting with the heads of the other political parties this week — including the largely unreconstructed Communists — about forming a new government. On Wednesday he will the head of the main opposition Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, and on Thursday, Gross is to hold talks with Communist party leader Miroslav Grebenicek. As the Social Democrat party leader and presumptive next Czech prime minister, Mr Gross has maintained that he will seek to build a cabinet without Communist support. For his part, Mr Grebenicek has said he hopes to influence the policy agenda but denied that the Communists were demanding the post of the Chamber of Deputies chairman in exchange for supporting the next government.
The government is expected on Wednesday to discuss a plan to trim the 2006 budget deficit to four percent of GDP, gross domestic product, with an eye toward meeting the Maastricht criteria in 2008 and adopting the EU currency, the Euro, before the end of the decade. Under the terms of the EU's "Stability and Growth Pact," governments cannot run a budget deficit greater than 3 per cent of GDP, nor can they have a debt ratio of more than 60 per cent of GDP. Thanks to taking on unusually high "one-off" loan guarantees, the Czech Republic last year posted a 12.9 per cent budget deficit as a percentage of GDP — the largest of any EU country. This year it is likely to be 6 per cent.
Over 16,000 people attended the 'Rock for People' summer concert held on Monday night on the outskirts of Cesky Brod, a small town to the west of Prague. The three-day long rock concert, which took place over the long holiday weekend, hosted a record 170 groups, including the Czech bands Monkey Business, Cechomor and Divoky Bill as well as singers from the wildly popular televised series 'Cesko hleda SuperStar,' the Czech version of the international 'Pop Idol' show.
Organizers of the 39th Karlvoy Vary International Film Festival have pulled the Slovenian film "Beneath Her Window" from the program after learning it was screened in an international competition that took place in Lubljana last year. Showing a film in competition again would be in breach of rules established by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF).
The central Bohemian town of Jihlava had a record number of people visit its zoo on Monday, which was a national holiday. Over 3,500 visited the zoo. People had to wait more than an hour in line to gain entry. Zoo officials said that figures for May show that attendance was up by 17,000 over the same time last year.
Czech-born goaltender Dominik Hasek, 39, has been signed on by the Ottowa Senators hockey team. He would replace Patrick Lalime, who was traded to the St. Louis Blues last month. Hasek, who retired after the 2001-02 NHL season with the Detroit Red Wings, played part of last season for Detroit, but a chronic groin injury forced him to abort his comeback. He had groin surgery in April and became an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Wednesday should be cloudy with scattered showers and high of around 30 degrees Celsius.
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