Daily news summary News

02-09-2009

Politicians ready to change constitution quickly after court throws date of elections into doubt

Czech politicians have agreed to amend the constitution quickly after the Constitutional Court threw the date of early elections into doubt. On Tuesday the court said it needed more time to deliberate on the constitutionality of an amendment passed by the Chamber of Deputies cutting short its last term. Consequently, judges suspended a decision by Czech President Václav Klaus to hold elections on October 9 and 10. But after chairing a meeting of party leaders and senior constitutional figures at Prague Castle on Wednesday, Mr Klaus said they had not accepted the idea that early elections had been lost. He said an expert group would draft a constitutional amendment within hours or days.

This unprecedented situation arose after the Constitutional Court received a complaint by independent MP Miloš Melčák; he said the amendment bringing the previous parliament to an end violated his right to serve out a full four-year term.

Constitutional Court to hold public discussion next week on amendment ending term of parliament

The Constitutional Court, under pressure from politicians to speed up its processes, has said it will discuss the law cutting short the term of the last parliament in an open hearing next Thursday. However, it is still unlikely elections will be held on the dates originally scheduled. The president and representatives of the main parties are expected to attend the court session in Brno.

The early elections will bring to an end to the leadership of Prime Minister Jan Fischer, who has headed a cabinet of technocrats since a government led by Mirek Topolánek of the Civic Democrats lost a no-confidence vote in March.

Political scientists: crisis could harm big parties when vote eventually held

Political scientists say the constitutional crisis may harm the country’s two biggest parties when elections are eventually held, the CTK news agency reported. They believe that increased voter disillusionment could lead to less support for the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats, CTK said. Pundit Rudolf Kučera said those parties representatives may pay for appearing more concerned about the millions they could have wasted on campaigning than about the country’s constitutional order. The big parties have pledged to go on campaigning.

Man who faked own death to evade justice arrested 12 years later

Czech police have arrested a 41-year-old man who faked his own death in order to evade justice 12 years ago. Petr Žižka, who has confessed, faked his own drowning in Italy in 1997, Právo reported. He had fled the Czech Republic on a family member’s passport after being sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for robbery, the newspaper said. An international warrant for his arrest was dropped when his death was reported. After returning to the Czech Republic two years ago he lived under a relative’s name.

Several undergo surgery after bus carrying Czechs and Slovaks crashes in Turkey

Twenty-three Czech and Slovak holidaymakers were injured when a coach they were travelling in crashed in Turkey on Tuesday. Seven of those taken to hospital have undergone surgery, while two more were awaiting operations. None of the injured are suffering from life-threatening complications. The accident occurred when the bus, which was carrying 43 people, went off the road in a mountainous area 70 kilometres from the resort of Antalya.

Best known Czech opponent of daylight saving time dies

The Czech Republic’s best known opponent of daylight saving time, Stanislav Pecka, has died. For nearly three decades Mr Pecka campaigned against the practice of getting more light out of the day by advancing clocks by one hour in summer, even taking a complaint against the system to the European Court of Human Rights. He began fighting the concept in 1981, two years after daylight saving time was introduced in Czechoslovakia. Mr Pecka believed the system was injurious to health.

Decision on whether Rosický will face Slovaks to be made on Thursday

A decision on whether Tomáš Rosický will play for the Czech football team in a key World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Saturday should be taken after training on Thursday, the player told the news website novinky.cz. Rosický has been absent from the game for a over a year and a half with injury problems. The Arsenal midfielder said whatever happened he would not be able to play for the full 90 minutes in Bratislava. The Czechs have to beat Slovakia in order to keep alive their hopes of reaching the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Weather

Temperatures should fall to around 19 or 20 degrees Celsius in the coming days. We can expect some sunshine with rain at times.

02-09-2009