Daily news summary News

01-04-2005

Communists keep minority Gross government in power

The Czech prime minister, Stanislav Gross, has survived a vote of no confidence called by the opposition Civic Democrats. Friday's vote came two days after his government lost their majority with the departure of the Christian Democrats from the coalition. The remaining parties, Mr Gross's Social Democrats and the Freedom Union, won less than half the votes, but survived thanks to the Communist Party, who abstained.

Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek later slammed what he called a "red coalition" of the Social Democrats and Communists.

The no-confidence vote followed a period of instability in the coalition government, after Prime Minister Gross became embroiled in a scandal over his family's finances.

Bures, Mlynar announce resignation from cabinet, Buzkova considering future

Two ministers said they would resign from the government after Friday's vote. Minister for Legislation Jaroslav Bures, an independent nominated by the Social Democrats, and Freedom Union Information Technology Minister Vladimir Mlynar said they would not remain in a government tacitly supported by the Communists. Social Democrat Education Minister Petra Buzkova said she was considering her future.

Gross rejects call from President Klaus for confidence vote before cabinet appointments

Meanwhile, President Vaclav Klaus has demanded that Prime Minister Gross call a vote of confidence, before Mr Klaus appoints new ministers, including replacements for the three Christian Democrat ministers who resigned on Thursday. Mr Gross said the president did not have the right to make such a demand under the constitution, and said he would not hold a confidence vote.

The prime minister has already announced some of his new cabinet appointees. Jan Kohout is to become foreign minister, Radko Martinek will be environment minister and the transport ministry will be headed by Pavel Svagr.

NPF: Privatisation of Cesky Telecom to be completed by end of June

The privatisation of the state-controlled Cesky Telecom should be completed by the end of June, an official at the National Property Fund said on Friday. The cabinet is expected to announce the sale of the state's 51 percent stake in the company to Spain's Telefonica in the middle of next week. The sell-off of Cesky Telecom is the last remaining privatisation of a major state concern.

Chronicle of Dalimil on public display for first time

The valuable 14th century Chronicle of Dalimil has been shown to the public for the first time since being acquired by the Czech National Library last month. The Latin manuscript, which describes the history of Bohemia, was written around 1340, and is believed to have been commissioned by either King John of Luxembourg or his son Charles IV. It is on display at the Mirror Chapel at Prague's Clementinum.

Weather

We can expect a lot of sunshine around the country over the next few days, with temperatures reaching up to 17 degrees Celsius.

01-04-2005