A new poll released by the Factum Invenio agency suggests that if early elections were held, the Civic Democrats would win with 35.9% of votes, and the Social Democrats would secure 27.2% of votes. The poll's findings indicate that the Communist Party would place third with 13.9%, the Greens would get 8.4%, and the Christian Democrats 6.9%. Thus according to these results, the Social Democratic Party has decreased in popularity since the June elections, while the Greens have improved their ratings.
This past weekend marked another high number of tragic deaths on Czech roads. Eleven people died as a result of automobile accidents this past Saturday and Sunday. Police statistics show that recently every second weekend has marked a high number of traffic fatalities. There were a total of 655 accidents recorded this past weekend.
Jiri Paroubek, chairman of the Social Democrats, held a press conference
on Monday morning to clarify interpretations based on his appearance on
Sunday's TV talk show program hosted by Vaclav Moravec. Mr. Paroubek says
that he did not offer the Civic Democrats a grand coalition arrangement
during the TV debate, as was widely reported by the media. Mr. Paroubek
said that he views the possibility of a grand coalition as one of four
possible options for resolving the government vacuum in place since the
June elections resulted in a political deadlock. The other options listed
by the Mr. Paroubek include a coalition government composed of the Social
Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens, which would need to
rely on support from the Communist Party in order to count on at least 101
seats in the lower house; and a caretaker government; or a Social
Democratic minority government. In Sunday's TV debate, Mr. Paroubek said
that he would not have a role to play in the case of a grand coalition
between the Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats.
The Civic Democrats have dismissed the possibility of a grand coalition with the Social Democrats. Mirek Topolanek, the Civic Democratic leader and his deputies met with President Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle Monday afternoon; Mr. Klaus told the press that he is also opposed to a grand coalition.
Sunday's edition of the TV political talk show, Otazky Vaclava Moravce, which airs on CT1 registered more than three-quarters of a million viewers. This past weekend Vaclav Moravec's guests were Civic Democratic Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, and the chairman of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek. The high viewer interest generated by the ongoing instability on the Czech political scene resulted in Vaclav Moravec's show of October 15 being the most-watched program in this autumn's television line-up thus far.
The Czech Republic's best-known beer producer, Pilsner Urquell, has announced that it will raise prices as of November. The west Bohemian-based brewery, located in the city of Plzen, made the announcement citing rising costs of barley, energy, and packaging materials. A half-liter of Pilsner will go up in price by 1.40 Czech crowns; the current cost is 16.50 Kc.
Petr Cech, the goalkeeper for London's Chelsea, could stay away from the football field for as long as six months. The 24-year Czech goalie suffered a head injury during Saturday's play in the Premier League, and had to undergo surgery for a depressed fracture of the skull in a London hospital. Petr Cech was caught by a challenge from Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt in the first minute of play and was carried off. Coach Jose Mourinho said he thought Cech was lucky to be alive after being caught in the head by Hunt's knee, branding the Reading man's challenge "a disgrace". Petr Cech is now recovering in hospital and experts say that an early return to the field would leave Cech risking "repetitive injury syndrome," and would also leave him vulnerable to the risk of internal bleeding if he suffered an injury before recovering fully from Saturday's accident.
In related news, the Social Democratic leader Jiri Paroubek has called
on the smaller parties in the lower house, the Christian Democrats and
the Greens, to publicly explain exactly how relying on the support of
the Communist Party to bolster a coalition of Social Democrats,
Christians Democrats and Greens is dangerous. Mr. Paroubek said that if
the smaller parties do not provide concrete reasons for refusing to
collaborate with the Communist Party, they are then "giving priority to
unproductive anticommunism, rather than to fulfilling their own
Both the Christian Democrats and the Greens made public statements on Monday, confirming that they have no intention of participating in a coalition government that would be dependent on the votes of Communist Party MPs. The coalition of Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, and Greens that Mr. Paroubek is proposing would depend on support from the Communist Party in order to survive a vote of confidence.
A new poll by the STEM agency suggests that over 50 percent of Czechs are planning to cast their votes in the upcoming Senate elections next Friday and Saturday, while up to 70 percent are planning to take part in the local elections on the same days. A different poll by the Factum Invenio agency suggests over 50 percent of Czechs believe that the Senate, the upper house of the Czech Parliament, is a useless institution and should be abolished. The trend has been visible ever since 1996 when the Senate was established but the number of those believing that it is a useful and beneficial institution has slightly increased.
A Prague district court has decided to remand former deputy local development minister, Vera Jourova, in custody. Ms Jourova has been accused in a case of suspected corruption in the handling of EU structural funds channelled via the Local Development Ministry. Ms Jourova was arrested shortly after her plane landed at Prague-Ruzyne airport on Friday afternoon. Besides Vera Jourova, three men have been accused of corruption in the same case. They are Zdenek Dolezel, a former senior aide to two former Social Democrat prime ministers, Ladislav Peta, mayor of the town of Budisov, and Miloslav Rehulka, an Agriculture Ministry employee. All three have been in custody since Friday.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek also said that a proposed US anti-missile defence site will most probably not be built in the Czech Republic. Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday, Mr Topolanek said that a radar site might be built in the country instead. The United States plans to build a base in Central Europe which would house defensive missiles, and be under the administrative control of the United States. US military experts have visited potential locations in the Czech Republic and Poland.