Petr Nečas has been elected leader of the Civic Democrats. Mr. Nečas,
who has served as acting chairman since the resignation in March of the
party’s former leader Mirek Topolánek, was officially confirmed in the
post at a two day conference of the Civic Democratic Party in Prague.
Dubbed by the media as Mr. Clean, Petr Nečas said his ambition was to
renew public trust and make the Civic Democrats a leading force in Czech
politics. The five newly-elected deputies are all close allies of Mr.
The first day of the conference was 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. Despite the party’s poor showing, strong support for two new parties, TOP09 and Public Affairs have given the Civic Democrats the chance to form a centre-right government, with Mr. Nečas widely expected to become the country’s next prime minister.
The party’s former leader Mirek Topolánek was not present at the conference but sent an open letter analyzing the party’s election defeat and making recommendations for the future. He said that the main reason behind the failure was party infighting, a lack of loyalty and corruption scandals. He reminded the assembly that the party’s own deputies had helped bring down the government in the middle of the country’s EU presidency and said that he himself had been under constant attack from his own party members during his eight years as leader. Mr. Topolánek called for the party to unite and rally around its new leader, to effect a change of guard which would bring capable, young people to the fore and to show greater humility in the face of the public.
The new Civic Democrat leadership is to meet on Sunday evening to discuss changes to its negotiating team in the three party coalition talks. The original trio included David Vodrážka, who failed to get elected to the party leadership after Mr. Nečas omitted to mention his name when enumerating the candidates he wanted by his side.
Hundreds of people attended a commemorative ceremony on Sunday on the site of Ležáky, one of the two Czech villages that the Nazis razed to the ground 68 years ago in retaliation for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. The children were either transported to concentration camps or resettled with German families whilst all 52 adults were killed and Ležáky was razed to the ground on June 24th 1942, just two weeks after the destruction of Lidice. Speaking at the ceremony President Vaclav Klaus said it was important for future generations to learn the lessons of the past, to realize the full meaning of expressions such as statehood, freedom and sovereignty and be ever ready to defend them.
A fire at a stockyard for scrap tires in Tušimice, northwest Bohemia, continued to burn for a third day on Sunday although it was contained and under control. The amount of toxic fumes is also reported to have dropped significantly. At the height of the blaze 23 fire brigades fought the flames while emergency crews temporarily evacuated 200 people from their homes. Two firemen were injured in the emergency operation. The cause of the accident is being investigated. Preliminary reports suggest that poor storage conditions may have been partly to blame.
Four Czech tourists who were injured in a bus accident in Croatia early on Saturday remain in hospital in Pule with fractures and concussion, the ctk news agency reports. Six others have returned home. Twenty-one passengers suffered injuries in the accident in which a tourist bus overturned into a ravine. There were no critical injuries. Most of the group later continued on their journey to their holiday destination. The accident happened on the seacoast, near the town of Novi Grad at around 4 am CET. According to Croat traffic police the driver had been going too fast on a dangerous stretch of the road.
The Czech Republic’s pavilion at the Expo 2010 fair in Shanghai welcomed its 2 millionth visitor over the weekend. Wu Pcho, a twenty-eight-year old businessman from China received books about the Czech Republic, a gift of Bohemia crystal and a crate of Czech beer. The head of the pavilion Miloslava Kumbarová said she was delighted with the success of the Czech undertaking. China has even expressed interest in buying the pavilion and apparently plans to move the complex to a town outside Shanghai.
The Trade Inspection Authority said a recent inspection of 28 pubs and eateries in smaller towns and villages revealed that 16 of them failed to adhere to set norms. Among the failings for which they were fined was undersizing food portions and drinks and failing to properly mark the price of goods. The TIA said it meant to intensify inspections of small eateries ahead of the holiday season.
The popular British trip hop band Massive Attack is to perform at Prague’s Tesla Arena on Monday. The group is back just six months after their November concert in the Czech capital, which was hopelessly sold out weeks in advance and received rave reviews. This will be their fourth gig in the Czech Republic.
The number of Czech households equipped with a computer has doubled in the last five years, the Czech Statistical Office reported. While in 2005 only around 30 percent of Czech households were equipped with a PC, in 2009 their number had risen to 59.6 percent. In this respect the Czech Republic still lacks behind the EU average, which is 11 percent higher.