The two most likely contenders in the second round of presidential elections would be former caretaker prime minister Jan Fischer with 32 percent public support and former prime minister Miloš Zeman with 17 percent support, the Median polling agency reported on Tuesday. Mr. Zeman has already collected the necessary 50,000 signatures for registration, Jan Fisher started collecting them this week. Mr. Fischer who has served as EBRD vice-president since September 2010, has taken unpaid leave for his election campaign and plans to resign from his post upon registration.
The latest forecast released by the Czech Banking Association expects the Czech economy to fall by 0.6 percent this year, while previously it had reckoned with stagnation. The reason behind the predicted drop is a slump in household consumption, a drop in incomes and high unemployment. The CBA also revised down its economic development outlook for 2013 predicting a 1 percent economic growth compared to the 2 percent increase it forecast in April.
The Czech Food Inspection Office has launched a new web reporting on poor-quality or dangerous food products on Czech supermarket shelves. The office set it up in reaction to the growing number of products that inspectors found to be inadequate or even health damaging. Many stores were found to be selling goods long past their expiry date and the quality of many products did not correspond to what was on the label. The new web, at potraviny.cz ,had 350 items on the day it was launched.
Police are investigating the brutal murder of Ostrava regional court judge Miloslav Studnička, who was killed on Monday at his family home in the Novojičín area. The murder is thought to have taken place at around 11 am; the judge’s throat had been cut, idnes and Czech TV reported. Judge Studnička presided over a number of high-profile criminal cases in the Czech Republic including that of arsonists who left a toddler in Vítkov with severe lifelong disabilities in a racially-motivated attack. The defendants were found guilty and received stiff prison sentences. The 64-year-old judge had inherited his home in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, idnes writes.
The prime minister and other officials attended an official ceremony on
Monday at the site of the former concentration camp in Lety, in southern
Bohemia, commemorating Romany victims of the Holocaust. In his speech, the
prime minister recalled that many interned at the site had died of hunger
and disease and stressed that racial prejudice could “never again be
rule peoples’ lives”. At the same time, he admitted that the
did not have the necessary funds to remove a highly controversial pig farm
in the vicinity, built after the war. Previous Czech governments
were likewise unable ever to meet the high relocation costs demanded by
The Lety concentration camp was opened in 1940 during the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, and by 1943 1,308 Roma were interned there: 327 died at the site, while more than 500 were sent on to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
The Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has met with the Justice Minister Pavel Blažek to discuss a new bill overseeing state prosecutors, agreeing to work out individual details. The minister has made clear a good deal of debate and discussion will be required before the final wording is set; an emphasis is reportedly being put on added accountability on the part of prosecutors as well as the protection of their constitutional rights and freedoms. During their meeting, the supreme state attorney told the newly-named minister he was insisting on his earlier recommendation of respected state prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová to head Prague’s high state attorney’s office. Her naming by former minister Jiří Pospíšil was reportedly imminent but Mr Pospíšil was suddenly and unexpectedly recalled from his post by the prime minister, apparently over managerial failures.
Former prime minister and presidential hopeful Jan Fischer has said the moment he is officially registered as a candidate in the upcoming Czech presidential election, he will give up his post as vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Redevelopment. The likely presidential candidate, who has continued to top public opinion polls, confirmed that he will return to Prague from London, where the bank is based, on August 1. He will then begin unpaid leave until the moment he registers, ČTK reported. Mr Fischer told the press his return home was vital to be able to communicate directly with members of the public. On Monday, Mr Fischer launched his drive for the 50,000 signatures needed to officially register as a candidate; a potential rival and another former prime minister Miloš Zeman (polling third behind Fischer and Czech-American economist Jan Švejnar) has already secured 50,000 names.
The leadership of the coalition Civic Democrats has officially backed former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil as candidates’ list leader for the region of Plzeň in regional elections to take place in the autumn. Mr Pospíšil – who only recently was recalled from his post in the government – is looking to try and win the regional governorship. On Sunday, he received support from 73 out of 76 Plzeň regional Civic Democrat members.
Prague’s Evropská street remains closed to traffic, with the exception of local trams, after a sinkhole five metres deep collapsed a section of the road on Sunday. Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told Czech Radio on Monday the incident was in all likelihood not related to construction of a new metro tunnel 12 metres below the surface. Construction there is being conducted by Metrostav which in the past was linked to a number of similar incidents in the city. Prague's Evropská street connects the centre of Prague with Ruzyně international airport and is one of the city’s most heavily-used routes. Buses and cars should be allowed back by the end of the week.
A search, now in its fifth day, for a baby kidnapped in the region of Ústí nad Labem has so far yielded no results; a police official confirmed as much for the Czech news agency on Monday. An unidentified male took the three-week old baby from her baby carriage in Trmice last Wednesday. There were several media reports at the weekend from abroad about the possible whereabouts of the suspect and child: camera systems in Germany are said to have caught the vehicle on tape, while the Polish media reported that someone had spotted the car headed in the direction of the Belarusian border. The Czech news website idnes has written that the family has promised a reward to the kidnapper for the safe return of their baby.