Czech President Václav Klaus has announced he will appoint the incoming centre-right government of Prime Minister Petr Nečas on July 13. The formal appointment of the government sets the clock ticking for it to win a vote of confidence in the lower house of parliament within 30 days. The three-way coalition partners, the right-wing Civic Democrats, conservative TOP 09, and centrist Public Affairs should have no problem there since they command 118 seats in the 200-seat lower house. Civic Democrat leader Petr Nečas was already named the incoming prime minister at the end of June.
The parties forming a coalition are due to complete final negotiations over their joint government programme on Wednesday. The last of the seven chapters of their accord and one where they have still to come to agreement is the health sector. Here, party negotiators have clashed over the future format of charges for visits to doctors and the amount patients must pay for drugs. The TOP 09 party has come out broadly in favour of such charges with its incoming Minister of Health Leoš Heger saying that in the current tough economic climate they cannot be cancelled.
The construction company working on a road tunnel which collapsed in
Prague said on Wednesday that excavation work will be stopped for several
weeks. The Blanka road tunnel collapsed in two places in the early hours of
Tuesday, trapping one of the workers. The excavator operator was rescued
uninjured after some six hours. The spokesman for construction company
Metrostav said that work would be stopped pending an investigation by the
state mining authority into the cause of the collapse. The collapses
occurred in the Prague neighbourhood of Dejvice, close to the buildings of
the ministries of culture and interior. Prague’s mayor Pavel Bém has
called for criminal proceedings to be launched over the endangering of
The construction of the Blanka road tunnel, which at over 6,000 metres will be the longest in the Czech Republic, began in 2007. A year later, the tunnel collapsed under the city’s Stromovka Park, creating a large crater.
The central Bohemian town of Jihlavá has unveiled a statue in a park dedicated to the composer and conductor Gustav Mahler on the 150th anniversary of his birth on Wednesday. Mahler was born in a nearby town but spent most of his childhood in Jihlavá. President Václav Klaus, who attended the event, pointed out that although Mahler spent most of his life elsewhere his roots remained in the town. Mahler was a musical director and conductor throughout most of his life and regarded composing as a secondary activity. His works attracted interest before his death in 1911 but were largely forgotten later and, because he was a Jew, were banned by the Nazi regime. They enjoyed a revival starting in the 1950’s.
The Czech foreign trade balance ended in May with a surplus of 12.3 billion crowns. Overall exports rose by 24.4 percent and imports by 25.9 percent compared with the same month a year earlier. That sort of increase has not been seen since 2005, soon after the country became a full member of the European Union. Analysts said that Czech trade volumes have now returned to the sort of levels seen in 2008, before the economic crisis. But they have also warned that it is too early to say that the economic crisis is over.
The extended four-day weekend has proved to be one of the most tragic on Czech roads. Traffic police report 26 road deaths attributed to heavy traffic, the heat and drinking and driving. In one case a cyclist was killed after cycling in the opposite lane on a highway, in another a 22-year-old drunk man without a license mowed into a group of people on a bus stop. The first weekend of the school holidays was all the more tragic for the fact that ten people drowned, mostly through alcohol and irresponsible behaviour.
A bishop’s grave was raided in the central Bohemian town of Litoměřice and gold stolen, according to the news server deník.cz on Wednesday. It cited police reports Wednesday that gold was taken from the grave of |bishop Josef Koukl who died in May. The alarm was raised when someone noticed that the casket was half open.
The lower house of parliament meeting on Wednesday backed a change in the
rules meaning that the prime minister or deputy prime ministers will no
longer have to be present for the session to continue sitting. The change
allows them to be replaced by other members of the government. During the
government of Mirek Topolánek, deputy premier Martin Bursík complained he
missed important international meetings because of the stipulation that he
must be present in the chamber.
A ban on mobile phones being used by members of the house was also abolished. The changes were proposed by the head of the Civic Democrat group in the house, Petr Tluchoř.
Czech football player Tomáš Kalas will continue to play for Sigma Olomouc in the Gambrinus League in the upcoming season in spite of having been signed by English club Chelsea. Chelsea announced the news that it will loan the 17-year-old defender out to his old club on its website. Chelsea beat off offers from a host of other top clubs, reportedly including Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Juventus and Inter Milan to sign Kalas for around 160 million crowns. Kalas already played for Olomouc’s first team last season.
The Czech football season will kick off on Thursday for the first time with a super cup match between the league and cup champions. In this context, league leaders Sparta Prague will face cup winner Viktoria Plzeň. Although such matches have traditionally opened the season abroad, this is the first time the format has been tested in the Czech Republic. The match will take place at Sparta’s Letna stadium.