Prime Minister designate and Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek and Social Democrat chairman and outgoing prime minister Jiri Paroubek met on Monday morning for talks about a future Czech government but the talks have failed to make progress. Mr Paroubek said it was unlikely that his Social Democrats would support a minority Civic Democrat government. Mirek Topolanek, on the other hand, accused Mr Paroubek of blocking the formation of a rightist minority government. Meanwhile the Social Democrat leadership decided later on Monday that the party would continue in the negotiations with the Civic Democrats on a Civic Democrat minority cabinet.
The Civic Democrats won the most votes in a national election in June, but parliament has been deadlocked because the right and left-wing blocs hold the same number of seats in the lower house.
Outgoing Social Democrat prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, said on Sunday that he intended to press for early elections to the lower house in 2008, saying that he did not want to allow a minority Civic Democrat government to govern until 2009, when the Czech Republic will hold the presidency of the European Union. The chairman of the Civic Democratic Party, Mirek Topolanek, does not agree with the notion that the next government's mandate should end before the EU presidency term finishes in June 2009. Earlier, Mr Paroubek had expressed the opinion that early elections would not hurt the Czech Republic's success during the EU presidency rotation.
A remembrance ceremony on Monday in front of the Czech Radio building on Prague's Vinohradska Street marked the 38th anniversary of the beginning of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Officials laid wreaths in front of the Czech Radio building which was the site of the bloodiest fighting in August 1968 between the occupiers and the citizens of Prague. The invasion of Warsaw-Pact troops crushed the reform movement known as the Prague Spring and Soviet units stayed in Czechoslovakia until 1991. More than 70 people were killed and several hundred wounded in the first weeks of the invasion.
The Czech Chamber of Agriculture has said that wheat yields in the Czech Republic will be lower than last year and due to bad weather conditions less than half of the harvested crops is expected to reach standard quality. Speaking at a news conference on Monday, the head of the chamber Jan Veleba said the situation can affect the prices of some foodstuffs, such as flour, baked products or meat. An unusually hot and dry July was followed by heavy rain at the beginning of August which damaged a lot of the crops.
Financial analysts approached by the CTK news agency have agreed that the major advantage of an early adoption of the euro for Czech citizens would be easier travelling. On the other hand, they warned that the economy might overheat causing a rapid growth of prices. The government have agreed that the Czech Republic should adopt the European currency in 2010 but the term has been put into question by some experts. For example, the deputy finance minister Eduard Janota said on Sunday that the Czech Republic's planned adoption of the Euro in 2010 was in danger because the Czech Republic was not going to fulfil all the Maastricht criteria by the middle of 2007.
The district state attorney's office in the city of Plzen has said two young traffic police officers from the Tachov district attempted to rob a local petrol station on Sunday night. They were detained as they were trying to assault the staff. One of them was on duty and wearing a police uniform at the time of the attack. Both men, aged 26 and 27, have been accused of plotting a robbery and one of abuse of power.
The next few days should be partly cloudy with daytime highs between 19 and 21 degrees Celsius.
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