More than 200 candidates, a record number, have put themselves forward for
election to the upper house of the Czech Parliament ahead of a vote
scheduled for the end of October, authorities said on Friday. In all 204
candidates will compete for the 27 seats up for grabs, beating the
previous record of 197 set in 2004. The Czech Republic elects its senators
every two years, when a third of the 81 seats become available. Observers
say the elections will be an important political indicator after the
country's June general election left the lower house split evenly between
right- and left-wing parties.
One of the candidates is Pavla Topolankova, the wife of the prime minister designate Mirek Topolanek, who is standing on a platform openly hostile to her husband's right-wing Civic Democratic Party.
President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday he would appoint the cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Monday afternoon. Civic Democrat chairman and Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek met President Klaus on Friday at Prague Castle, and presented to him a list of the members of his minority government. The new cabinet is to have 15 ministers, 9 of them members of the Civic Democratic Party and 6 unaffiliated, and prepare the country for early elections. The new cabinet is expected to ask the lower house for confidence on October 4th. It is unclear whether it will receive confidence owing to a perfect split between the rightist and leftist blocks in the chamber.
Police say they have broken up an illegal techno party near the town of Slany in Central Bohemia. The party was attended by some 150 people. Following complaints by the locals about loud music and disturbing the peace at night, the police intervened in the early hours of Saturday and the organisers agreed to end the party.
Prague city hall has announced that it will move a commercial event originally due to take place on Prague's medieval Charles Bridge following an outcry against it. The French fashion company Louis Vuitton had signed a deal to rent the bridge on September 8 and 9 to host the last stage of a vintage car event. The proposed closure of the bridge, crossed every day by thousands of tourists and locals, created a storm of protest from politicians, monument preservationists as well as the public. A Prague city hall spokesman said on Friday that the Louis Vuitton event will be transferred to one of the embankments along the Vltava River.
Saturday's edition of the Mlada fronta Dnes daily writes that the chairman of the Communist Party and deputy chairman of the lower house employs as his assistant Frantisek Hanzalik who was trained by the KGB in the 1970s. Referring to secret documents from the Interior Ministry archives, the daily says Mr Hanzalik was to be planted as a spy in the West. According to the paper, in the 1980s he was the head of the communist secret police chapter in the town of Ceske Budejovice where Mr Filip himself was registered under the cover name of Falmer. Mr Hanzalik has declined to comment.
President Klaus has also met the members of the outgoing centre-left coalition cabinet and thanked them for their work. He said that although he did not always agree with the decisions of the government of Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, the relations were always correct. The outgoing cabinet was appointed in April 2005 after Prime Minister Stanislav Gross stepped down following a financial scandal.
The archbishop of Prague has launched an attack on the American superstar singer Madonna, days before her "Confessions" world tour appearances in Prague, including a controversial mock crucifixion scene. Speaking of the singer as "the so-called Madonna", Cardinal Miloslav Vlk said in a statement of Friday that such megashows were absolutely unacceptable for Christians because they offended the religious sensibilities of believers. Cardinal Vlk also said that it was "scandalous" that "millions were earned thanks to a contempt for the Christian religion," and that in the future nobody would remember who the singer Madonna was, "but the true Madonna (Virgin Mary) will continue to be venerated." Madonna is due to perform in Prague on September 6 and 7 with tickets for her appearances sold out within two hours of going on sale.
Congolese defensive midfielder Ilongo Ngasanya has joined Czech league leaders Mlada Boleslav on loan until the end of the year. The 22-year-old had struggled to hold down a first team place at Lokomotiv Moscow and had been on loan at another Russian side, Nalchik. Mlada Boleslav's sporting director Zdenek Kudela said the team's aim was to improve its the quality and attractiveness.
President Vaclav Klaus has said he will appoint the cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Monday. Civic Democrat chairman and Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek met President Klaus on Friday at Prague Castle, and presented to him a list of the members of his minority government. The new cabinet is to have 15 ministers, 9 of them members of the Civic Democratic Party and 6 unaffiliated, and prepare the country for early elections. Owing to an even split between the leftist and rightist parties in the lower house after June's national elections, it is expected to have difficulties receiving a vote of confidence from the chamber. The vote is expected to take place on October 4th.
According to preliminary police statistics, August saw the lowest number of fatal traffic accidents on Czech roads in the last 36 years. The total number of road accidents decreased as well. In both July and August, 2006, 72 people died on Czech roads, that is 48 and 30 percent fewer than last year, respectively. The number of injuries has also dropped compared to previous years. According to the police and experts, the situation is a result of new traffic regulations which came into force last month and introduced tougher punishments for driving offences.
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