Daily news summary News

13-08-2006

Miloslav Vlcek to make public pledge ahead of Monday's vote

Social Democrat deputy Miloslav Vlcek will make a public pledge to the lower house on Monday regarding his candidacy to the post of speaker. Mr. Vlcek's nomination to the post is part of an agreement aimed at breaking the deadlock on the Czech political scene. The centre right parties have agreed to support his candidacy on condition that he does not avail himself of the opportunity to select the country's next prime minister. Mr. Vlcek has promised to respect this deal and will pledge to resign his post under precisely defined conditions. His election to the post would open the door to the demise of the old cabinet and the appointment of a prime minister designate.

Green Party wants to prevent change of election law

The Green Party says its chief aim in the autumn Senate elections is to prevent the two strongest parties - the Civic and Social Democrats - from gaining a constitutional majority in the upper chamber. As the two strongest parties move towards reaching a deal on a new government the Greens and the Christian Democrats fear that they will join forces to push through an amendment to the election law which would threaten the existence of smaller parties. The Greens will run in 19 out of the 27 contested constituencies and they have offered to support Christian Democrat candidates in other constituencies. Constitutional amendments require a three-fifth majority in both chambers.

Intelligence service official says it's time to take stock

The deputy head of the Intelligence Service UZSI Jan Beroun has said it is time to revise the country's security structures. Speaking on a televised panel debate Mr. Beroun said that the threat of terrorism was creeping ever closer to the country's borders and that in the wake of the London events he felt it would be wise to revise the workings of the Czech security system - as regards legislation, organization and material assets - in order to asses its operability in the event of a terrorist attack.

Politicians on US missile base

Czech political parties are presenting their views on the possibility of having a US missile base on Czech territory, even though Washington has not yet made known its preference on where it would like to station it. Both Poland and the Czech Republic are still in the running. The Social Democratic Party has said it wants a broad public debate on the issue and is pushing for a national referendum should the Czech Republic receive an offer from the United States. The Green Party said in a statement Sunday that a US military base should not be stationed on Czech territory on the basis of a bilateral agreement alone, but should involve NATO and the EU. The Civic Democratic Party alone appears to support the idea without reservations, but has not ruled out a referendum on the issue. The only opinion survey available on the subject suggests that 82 percent of Czechs do not want a US missile base in the Czech Republic.

Castro to keep his state and university distinctions

Cuban leader Fidel Castro has an honorary doctor's degree from Prague's prestigious Charles University, and although the current university leadership would like to strip him of the title it is unable to do so, according to the daily Lidove Noviny. Fidel Castro received the honorary doctor's degree in 1972 during an official visit to then communist Czechoslovakia and Czech law does not present a means of stripping him of the title. According to the paper Charles University has stopped granting honorary doctorates to living politicians in order to avoid similar problems in the future. The Cuban leader was also honoured with the highest Czech state distinction - the Order of the White Lion.

Weather:

The next few days are expected to bring partly cloudy skies with some scattered showers and day temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.

13-08-2006