The Civic Democratic Party is holding a two-day conference at which it is expected to elect a new leadership. The first day of the conference is devoted to an analysis of the party’s lackluster performance in the recent general elections and its strategy in coalition talks on forming a centre-right government. Petr Nečas, who led the party to the elections, after the resignation of Mirek Topolánek in March of this year, is running for the top post, unchallenged. He said in an opening speech that the party had lost credibility, been damaged by corruption scandals and had failed to sell its policy programme to the public. Despite the party’s lackluster performance, the strong showing of two new parties, TOP09 and Public Affairs have given the Civic Democrats the chance to form a centre-right government, with Mr. Nečas expected to become the country’s next prime minister.
In an open letter to the Civic Democratic Party conference, President Klaus said the party needed to regain public trust which required a change of guard and a return to the party’s traditional values. Mr. Klaus, who founded the Civic Democratic Party in 1991 and led it for eleven years, gave up his membership two years ago because he disagreed with the party’s direction. He said the drain of voters in recent years was most likely due to the fact that the party had abandoned its original course. Mr. Klaus also expressed support for the election of Petr Nečas to the post of chairman saying that the party needed a trustworthy leader and Mr Nečas was such a man.
The Civic Democratic Party’s potential coalition partners TOP09 and Public Affairs attended the opening of the two-day conference as guests. In a short greeting to the assembly TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg said the three parties should put aside their differences and cooperate for the good of the country. Public Affairs leader Radek John called for a cleansing of Czech politics which would open the way for renewed public trust. He said it was time to show the Czech people that politics was a service to the public.
The leaderships of the two left-wing parties on the Czech political scene,
the Social Democrats and the Communists are also analyzing the result of
May’s general elections. The Social Democrats, though technically the
winner of the elections, failed to do as well as they hoped and have been
sidelined from talks on a future government due to the lack of a potential
coalition partner. Then party leader Jiří Paroubek announced his
resignation just hours after the results came out, leaving his deputy
Bohuslav Sobotka to take over as acting chairman. The party has also
replaced its election manager for the upcoming local and Senate elections
in October. The party is to elect a new leadership in March of next year.
The Communist Party, which successfully defended 26 mandates in the lower house, received 2 percent less votes that it did in 2006, which it ascribes to the fact that close to 1,000 of its supporters failed to come to the polls. The average age of Communist Party supporters is 70 years.
The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes has lost and damaged important archive documents relating to the communist years, the daily Lidove Noviny writes in its Saturday edition. The paper says that documents relating to the case of Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in August of 1969 in protest of the Soviet occupation, and others on whom the communist police kept files are missing or incomplete. The paper puts this down to negligence in the way the documents were lent and handled as well as to their scanning for digitalization which often left pages torn and crumpled.
A Czech tourist bus crashed in Croatia early on Saturday, injuring 21 passengers. The accident happened on the seacoast, near the town of Novi Grad at around 4 am CET. Early reports say the driver most likely lost control of the vehicle in a sharp turn and the bus fell into a ravine, turning on its side. Of the 31 passengers on the bus 21 were taken to hospital with various injuries, none of them critical. No one was killed in the accident.
In his first interview since his appointment as governor of the Czech
National Bank, Miroslav Singer, said that one of the biggest challenges in
the months to come would be to respond adequately to the increasing demands
for ever-greater regulation coming from the EC, and try to keep that
regulation within reasonable bounds. Asked whether he thought the Czech
Republic would join the eurozone during his six-year term in office, the
governor said the question was highly speculative in view of the
country’s finances which for the present time do not allow such a step.
President Klaus appointed Miroslav Singer to the post of central bank governor on Friday and he is due to take office on July 1. He replaces Zdeněk Tůma, who resigned in the spring saying it was time for a change of guard. Miroslav Singer has served as vice-governor of the central bank since 2005 and he worked as one of the directors of PricewaterhouseCoopers ČR before that.
A fire at a stockyard for scrap tires in Tušimice, northwest Bohemia, which led to the evacuation of 200 people on Friday, has been contained. Firemen say the worst is over although the scrapheap may continue to burn until Sunday and seven fire brigades remain in action. At the height of the blaze 23 fire brigades fought the flames while emergency crews temporarily evacuated 200 people from their homes. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
Teenage Czech striker Matěj Vydra has joined Serie A side Udinese from Baník Ostrava on a five-year deal, the CTK news agency said, quoting his agent Ondřej Chovanec. Ostrava will get around four million euros for Vydra, which makes him one of the most expensive Czech players ever, the agency said. The 18-year-old, who only made his first appearance in the Czech first division in January, scored four times in 14 matches for Ostrava.
Friday’s heavy storm in the eastern part of the country has once again raised water levels in Moravia’s streams and rivers. Although there is no immediate danger, many towns and villages have been put on flood alert in view of more rain forecast in the coming days. Masaryk forest, north of Brno, is off limits to the public after last week’s heavy storm uprooted dozens of trees.