The Communist Party has set three conditions under which it would support a new proposed government. It would have to guarantee better living standards, halt plans to control the budget deficit with the privatisation of the power utility CEZ or any other such institution, and uphold the sovereignty of the state, which they say could be threatened by the presence of foreign bases on Czech territory or too much participation in military missions.
On Tuesday, the first attempt at forming a new government after the June elections failed as the minority Civic Democrat cabinet of Mirek Topolanek lacked enough votes to win a vote of confidence in the lower house of Parliament. The Communists and the country's governors have warmed up to the idea of a caretaker government of independent experts that would lead the country into early elections while former prime minister Jiri Paroubek would like to form a minority government of his Social Democrats, who won the second most votes in June.
An opinion poll commissioned by Pravo newspaper suggests that 53 percent of the Czech population would like President Vaclav Klaus to entrust an independent expert with the forming of a new government. The poll, conducted by the STEM agency, also says 38 percent of the population would like to see former Social Democrat Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek given the chance to form a government, while only 30 percent opted for current Civic Democrat Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.
A group of US congressmen have called onto the government of the United States to begin dialogue with those EU countries, including the Czech Republic, that have been pushing for visa-free travel to the States. The letter addressed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was initiated by congressmen John Shimkus and Dennis Kucinich, who have been stressing that it would be right and fair to include the countries in the visa-waiver programme. The letter was signed by 25 members of Congress.
Police say a leading member of the Russian Mafia, who was deported from the Czech Republic in the 1990s is back in Prague. The owner of a Prague restaurant was found during a police raid. Anatolij Katric has been asked to leave the country, Czech Television reported on Saturday. The spokesperson for the Czech Police organised crime unit says it has yet to be determined how Mr Katric got into the country.
Police in Spain have reportedly detained the Czech wife of a man they believe to be a contract killer. Emilio Perez Rivera is suspected of double murder and was arrested on Wednesday in the Central Bohemian town of Caslav where he was in hiding. His wife Marketa was arrested on her way to Spain this week. A court will decide on Mr Rivera's extradition to Spain, which issued a European arrest warrant for him last month.
The next few days are expected to bring partly cloudy to overcast skies with rain showers and day temperatures between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius. Temperatures will rise gradually to reach highs of 20 degrees Celsius by mid-week.
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