An independent MP who succeeded in having early elections cancelled by the Czech Constitutional Court says he is seriously considering fighting fresh plans for early elections. On Thursday the court upheld Miloš Melčák’s complaint that a one-off amendment allowing for elections on October 8 and 9 was unlawful. A day later, both houses of Parliament passed a permanent change to the constitution, with a view to holding elections at the end of the first week of November. Mr Melčák told reporters that if his lawyers advised him the second amendment could be applied retroactively he would mount a fresh legal challenge. Another independent MP, Juraj Raninec, said he was considering a similar course of action.
Under a plan agreed by the main political parties, the Chamber of Deputies will dissolve itself on Tuesday and the president will call elections on November 6 and 7.
The Czech Republic has had an interim government since May. There are concerns that a failure to form a new political government in the near future would have serious consequences for the country’s budget for next year; if a 2010 budget is not approved in time, a provisional budget without needed spending cuts would enter into force.
If elections are held this November, approving the following year’s budget could be difficult when regular elections are held every four years, the news website idnes.cz wrote on Saturday. General elections have previously been held in June at the end of a fixed term, meaning new governments should be in place in advance of the period when a new budget is considered. The current caretaker finance minister, Eduard Janota, told idnes.cz that at least two and a half months was needed to debate a budget. The Civic Democrats’ Petr Nečas suggested one way out could be to have a budget that starts in March or April.
Two people died on Saturday when a small sports plane they were travelling in crashed on the edge of a forest near Sobíňov, east Bohemia. The aircraft went up in flames after hitting the ground, a police spokesperson said. Witnesses said it appeared the crash was due to engine failure. Since April 2006, over 40 people have died in crashes involving small planes in the Czech Republic.
The Child of Prague, a statuette revered by Roman Catholics around the world, is set to receive a gift from Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the Czech Republic in two weeks’ time. The pontiff is set to place a new gold crown on the statuette when he visits Prague’s Church of Our Lady Victorious at the start of a three-day stay. The clothing on the Child of Prague is regularly changed; it is reported to have around 100 outfits, many of which have been donated by worshippers. Pope Benedict is also going to serve large open-air masses at Stará Boleslav in Bohemia and the Moravian capital Brno during a visit which runs from September 26 to 28.
Car-maker Škoda Auto is planning to introduce a new vehicle that would be bigger than the company’s Fabia and cheaper than the Octavia, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The new car, for which no name has yet been announced, would replace the Octavia Tour older model, which is currently being sold alongside a newer Octavia. The German-owned Škoda plans to produce the new model at a plant in Vrchlabí, east Bohemia. Production could begin in the latter part of 2010, Mladá fronta Dnes said.
Police have charged four men with throwing stones and eggs at the leader of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolánek. Mr Topolánek suffered a cut on the head after being hit by projectiles while on the stump at a swimming pool in south Moravia last month. The four turned themselves in to the police soon after the incident, which followed a series of egg attacks on the Social Democrats leader, Jiří Paroubek.
Tučín in Moravia has been named Czech village of the year. As well as the title, Tučín – population 455 – also receives a two-million-crown grant. Second in this year’s competition was Lány in central Bohemia, followed by Žernov in eastern Bohemia. This is the 15th year of the village of the year awards, with the main criterion the quality of local projects that encourage community spirit.
The Czech football captain Tomáš Rosický scored a goal for Arsenal on Saturday in his first game for the club since January last year. Rosický came on as a substitute in the second half of a Premier League match away to Manchester City, scoring a consolation goal to make it 4:2 when the hosts were already leading 4:1 with around ten minutes to go. The Czech midfielder, who turns 29 next month, was out of football for a year and a half with a knee injury he said he feared could end his career.
We should see sunny spells with some rain over the coming days. Forecasters say maximum temperatures will reach 23 degrees Celsius.
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