Leaders of three Czech right-of-center parties have commented on the
results of the general elections that took place in Slovakia on Saturday.
Petr Nečas, the current acting leader of the Civic Democrats, said that he
found the Slovak results were similar to the outcome of the recent lower
house elections in the Czech Republic. He added that voters no longer put
faith in promises of left-of-center parties. The head of TOP 09 and former
foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg said he saw a positive development in
both countries while Public Affairs leader Radek John judged that Slovak
voters had decided in favor of fiscal responsibility.
While the left-wing SMER party of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico won the most votes, it lacks a clear majority and possible coalition partners. A center-right coalition of four parties led by the conservative SDKU claimed 79 out of the 150 seats up for grabs in parliament and could well form a government coalition.
The Czech government is set to discuss a new approach to integrating economically weak groups into mainstream society on Monday. The main focus will be education opportunities for children living in ghettos and problematic family situations. The head of the caretaker government, Prime Minister Jan Fischer, will present a strategy to fight social exclusion which aims at lowering unemployment within such groups. One possible measure could be introducing a mandatory pre-school year for children from socially excluded families, who often are of Roma origin. This could help lower the high percentage of such children being sent to schools with a more practical curriculum because they lack basic social and other skills by the time they enter elementary school.
The most likely prime minister, the acting leader of the Civic Democrats Petr Nečas and Miroslav Kalousek, of the Civic Democrat’s coalition partner TOP 09 said on Sunday that this year’s state budget had to lowered by another ten billion Czech crowns or more to achieve a state budget deficit of 5.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mr Nečas said that the future government should take steps to actively create next year’s state budget. Last year, the state budget deficit reached a record sum of 192.4 billion Czech crowns. One of the conditions for the Czech Republic to join the Eurozone is that the state budget deficit be lowered to three percent of GDP by 2013.
Prime Minister Jan Fischer, who appeared on Czech Television on Sunday, said that the candidate he will suggest for the office of director of the Czech Statistical Office is a person who has not worked for the office to date. He did not want to reveal the name of the candidate. While the prime minister can suggest candidates for this post, the choices have to be approved by the Czech president, with whom Mr Fischer has been discussing possible picks. Mr Fischer, who used to be the director of the statistical office before he became the head of the caretaker government, is to take the post of vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the fall.
On Sunday, the leadership of the Green Party is to evaluate its defeat in
the recent general elections. Other points of discussion will be the senate
elections to take place in fall as well as an upcoming party conference,
where some senior party members may resign. The outgoing leader of the
Green Party, Ondřej Liška, said that the party lost a lot of votes due to
bad polling results prior to the elections which indicated that the party
would not have a chance at gaining the five percent of the vote that is
necessary to win seats in the parliament.
Mr Liška resigned from his post as party leader following the poor election result of only 2.44 percent of the vote, but has since said that he will decide by the end of June whether to apply for the same position again.
On Saturday, the majority of Prague’s museums stayed open past midnight as part of the city’s annual museum night, which drew over 180,000 visitors. Now in its seventh year, the event counted 53 participating institutions, most of which were open from 7 p.m. free of charge. According to the event’s organizers, the number of families in attendance was especially high this year, partly due to the fact that the program featured events for children, as well as special concerts, theater performances and lectures. The capital’s transport authority extended its metro services until 1:30 am to accommodate visitors of museum night; special busses were also in effect.
A 39-year old woman was killed by a falling tree near the town of Blansko in southern Moravia, where heavy thunderstorms hit on Saturday. Falling trees damaged roads, railroad tracks, cars and houses. Firefighters in the southern Moravia region were called out on some 80 missions in the course of Saturday night. Some roads and railroad routes are still blocked due to damages. In other parts of Moravia, the storms lead to power outages and flooded cellars and garages. Some 15,000 households near the Moravian town of Třebič were still without electricity on Sunday morning.
A new theater festival in Brno will be presenting the entire dramatic oeuvre of former president Václav Havel, including some little known plays and fragments. Mr Havel himself said that the project was ambitious and that he felt honored to be welcomed back by the theater world after taking a twenty-year break. The festival will be ongoing until June 19. Mr Havel is only able to attend three days of the festival since the filming of a screen version of Leaving, his newest play, is to start soon.
On Saturday evening, a woman gave birth to a healthy baby-daughter in her car near the Moravian town of Břeclav before an ambulance could arrive. A passerby helped the woman, who started giving birth earlier than expected. The woman’s 11-year-old son called an ambulance, which brought her and the baby to a hospital in the city of Brno. The region’s emergency medical services saw a record number of 250 cases on Saturday, due to a heat wave followed by heavy thunderstorms.