Confusion surrounds the selection of the Czech Republic’s nominee for a
place on the next European Commission. On Sunday the caretaker prime
minister, Jan Fischer, said that the governor of the Czech National Bank,
Zdeněk Tůma, was the choice of the government and the country’s two
biggest parties, the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats. Mr Fischer
said he had told them last Monday that Mr Tůma would be his choice – if
they themselves could not agree on a joint candidate. But the leader of
Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolánek, said the party would not back the
central bank head for the commissioner’s post. Mr Topolánek and Social
Democrats chairman Jiří Paroubek are set for talks with the prime
minister on Sunday evening.
The Civic Democrats and Social Democrats had evidently agreed that Mr Fischer himself should be the Czech candidate. However, the prime minister rejected that possibility, saying he would continue to lead the government until elections next year. Mr Topolánek then accused Mr Fischer of making a complete u-turn, after previously showing interest in the job.
A strike by workers at the Prague transport authority provisionally planned for Tuesday looks likely to be averted. Union leaders said that the city’s branch of the Civic Democrats were electing a new leadership on Tuesday and a strike could influence voting. The workers say they will not accept a mooted pay cut of seven percent. The Civic Democrat mayor of Prague, Pavel Bém, said on Sunday that city hall would provide the struggling transport authority without 900 million crowns in reserves in order to help it overcome its dire financial situation. Mr Bém has set up a crisis committee to help deal with the problems at the company; however, union leaders said they found unacceptable the make-up of the committee, which features executives who they say helped bring about the company’s current problems.
A six-year-old boy was left very seriously injured after being attacked by two Rottweiler dog in the town of Račice nad Trotinou in east Bohemia on Sunday. At least one of the animals bit the boy badly on his head and body, the CTK news agency reported. The dogs are believed to have belonged to his family. The boy is fighting for his life in a hospital in Hradec Kralové after being taken there by helicopter.
A new book has been published about the posters which accompanied the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989. Entitled Posters of the Velvet Revolution, it collects various posters that appeared in the country’s towns and cities during that period, for instance calling for the removal of the communist government or for a general strike at the end of November that year. The authors, many of whom were university students, are mostly unknown. The book features texts in both Czech and English.
Barbora Špotáková has been named Czech Athlete of the Year for the third time in a row. Špotáková holds the women’s world record in the javelin and is the reigning Olympic champion. This year she took silver at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, becoming the only member of the Czech team to take home a medal. Hurdler Petr Svoboda came second in the annual poll, while high-jumper Jaroslav Bába was in third place. Barbora Špotáková’s coach Rudolf Černý was named trainer of the year at Saturday night’s award ceremony in the Czech capital.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey players lost all three of their games at this year’s Karjala Cup in Helsinki. On Sunday the Czechs were beaten 4:3 in overtime by tournament winners Russia, despite having gone 2:0 up through Jan Bulis and Pavel Brendl. They had previously lost 4:3 to Sweden and 2:1 to hosts Finland.
Teplice extended their lead at the top of the Czech football league on Saturday, with a 1:0 home win over second-placed Jablonec. Teplice are now three points in front of their nearest rivals, with 14 of the league’s 30 rounds played. The only goal of the game was rather curious; the ball bounced off the cross-bar and went in after hitting the fit of the Jablonec goalkeeper.
The caretaker prime minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Fischer, has rejected the idea that he could become the country’s next European commissioner. The news website idnes.cz reported that the two biggest parties the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats were in favour of putting Mr Fischer forward for the post. However, in a statement issued on Saturday he said he and his government had taken on the responsibility of leading the country until elections next year and he would not give up that responsibility overnight. The prime minister said he hoped the political parties could agree on a candidate; if not, the interim government is expected to select a nominee at the start of next week.
Jan Fischer’s predecessor as head of the government, Mirek Topolánek, said the prime minister had expressed interest in taking the job of European commissioner. The Civic Democrats leader said after weeks of complicated negotiations Mr Fischer’s nomination was the only compromise that could be reached, and that he could not understand the latter’s complete u-turn over taking the post. He also praised the prime minister (by profession a statistician), saying he had shown he could represent the Czech Republic well on the European scene.