The lower house of the Czech Parliament has begun holding its first
meeting since general elections at the end of May. One hundred and
of the 200 elected to the Chamber of Deputies are new and were sworn in
the first time on Tuesday. The session was interrupted until Thursday
morning, when MPs are expected to vote on the posts of chair and vice
chair. Miroslava Němcová of the Civic Democrats is expected to become
speaker, while there will be three deputy speakers, compared to five in
The Civic Democrats are currently in talks on forming a centre-right government with TOP 09 and Public Affairs, with the three parties holding 118 seats in the lower house between them. They say they aim to sign a coalition agreement by the end of the first week of July.
The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has warned against the Civic Democrats occupying both the position of prime minister and speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. In an interview for Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper Právo, he said it seemed to him out of the question that TOP 09 and Public Affairs would allow the biggest party to assume the two posts. Mr Klaus said he thought the Civic Democrats would pay for filling both jobs by losing ground in the planned coalition. Civic Democrats chairman Petr Necaš is expected to become the next Czech prime minister.
Vít Barta of Public Affairs has sold his 50-percent stake in a security firm, the news website idnes.cz reported. The newly elected MP said he had sold his share to his brother. The company, ABL, is in a tender for a large government contract, and there had been suggestions Mr Barta could have become involved in a conflict of interest. He is one of the main financial backers of Public Affairs, which won seats in the lower house for the first time in May’s elections.
The vice governor of the Czech National Bank says the Czech Republic is not ready to give up control of its monetary policy, while the euro is not ready to become the country’s currency. Speaking on Tuesday, Mojmír Hampl said it was contradictory for the eurozone to allow member states to have budget autonomy, while at the same time trying to enforce budget rules. Mr Hampl said the euro had not harmonised the diverse structure of the eurozone; neither had it ensured growth in its members and enforced basic rules upon them. In fact, the opposite happened, said the central bank vice governor.
The former leader of the Christian Democrats, Cyril Svoboda, is set to become the Czech Republic’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported. Mr Svoboda recently stepped down as party chairman after the Christian Democrats failed to make it into parliament for the first time since the inter-war period. Cyril Svoboda, who is 53, was Czech foreign minister from 2002 to 2006. He has also served as minister for the interior, minister for regional development and minister without portfolio.
The budget carrier Wizz Air is to reduce significantly the number of routes it offers from Prague, the news website idnes.cz reported. As well as its usual seasonal routes, the airline will cut five routes which it previously operated during the winter months. A Wizz Air representative said the cuts were being made because of high charges and large seasonal swings in the number of people flying from Prague Airport. The announcement follows the news that Europe’s biggest budget airline Ryanair will discontinue all its flights to and from the Czech capital later this year.
A Vietnamese man living in the west Bohemian town of Domažlice has been given a 10-year jail term for attempting to kill a compatriot with a samurai sword. The victim suffered serious cuts to his head and upper arms during December’s attack, and at one point was in danger of bleeding to death. After he serves his sentence the perpetrator, who was the owner of a gaming bar, will be expelled from the Czech Republic.
The Russian film director Nikita Michalkov will receive a Crystal Globe award for contribution to world cinema at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, organisers said on Tuesday. Michalkov’s best known film is 1994’s Burnt by the Sun, which won an Academy Award for best foreign film. Other guests include the British actor Jude Law, Scottish producer Andrew Macdonald and his director brother Kevin, and Thelma Schoonmaker, winner of three Oscars for best editor for her work on the films of Martin Scorcese. The festival, which is being held for the 45th time, gets underway in the west Bohemian spa town at the end of next week.
The leading Czech cyclist Roman Kreuziger may leave the Italian team Liquigas and ride for Astan of Kazakhstan next season, the Dutch website Sportdome reported. Kreuziger’s contract with Liquigas ends this year and the Belgian team Omega-Lotto is said to be also interested in signing him up. If the Czech joins Astan, one of his teammates will be Alberto Contador, a two-time winner of the Tour de France. Roman Kreuziger, who is 24, himself finished ninth in the world most prestigious race last season.
Czech Television has moved to reduce the noise of vuvuzelas in their broadcasts of games at the football World Cup after some viewers complained about the constant sound of the plastic horns, which are traditional at matches in South Africa. The Czech public broadcaster on Monday began using a special sound filtering system to reduce the buzz-like noise of the vuvuzelas, a step already taken by some other TV stations.