Next Wednesday, August 7, will see a session in the Chamber of Deputies
which will determine whether Jiří Rusnok’s government gains
The news was confirmed earlier by the speaker of the lower house,
Němcová. The interim government is the first in the country’s history
to have been formed without first gaining broader political support. The
cabinet will need a minimum 101 votes in the 200 member chamber to pass.
The former centre-right coalition of the Civic Democrats, TOP 09, and LIDEM maintain they should have been given the nod to try and form a new government instead after a scandal forced the previous cabinet to step down. Mrs Němcová was put forward as a candidate for the centre-right but her bid was bypassed by the president who can – under the Constitution – name whomever he wishes as PM.
Earlier this week, it was reported that 101 MPs for the centre-right could confirm their majority in front of the president, signing a document during the session which Mr Zeman has said he will attend.
The interim government headed by Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok on Wednesday approved an amendment aimed at simplifying the penitentiary system. Under the proposal, different categories of prisons, ranging from low to maximum security, would be reduced from four to two. Those who committed serious crimes would remain under high security, while punishment for lesser crimes would be served in prisons with less strict regimes. Reforms in the penal code are meant to bring the Czech Republic closer to Western European counterparts.
The Prague High Court, in an appeals process, upheld an earlier exemplary 26-year prison sentence for Milan Torák, who murdered his own daughter, 12 years old, in a fit of jealousy. Several days before he had threatened to take the girl’s life and also his own in a car crash, witnesses later said. The girl's mother, working as a nurse in Saudia Arabia, suffered the horror of hearing the murder over an internet line as it took place.
The condition of a Czech tourist in hospital in Hurghada, Egypt, has improved and the man was able to leave the medical facility on Wednesday. His wife and eight-year-old daughter, however, died on Tuesday in as yet unclear circumstances. There has been speculation the cause of death may have been food poisoning. The man collapsed after finding his wife and daughter already dead in their room at the resort where they were staying, according to reports.
The interim government on Wednesday rejected draft legislation which would have allowed clients to withdraw from the recently-established “second pillar” of pension reforms (that is savings in private pension funds) at a later date if they so wished. The prime minister made clear for the government that such changes were anti-systemic. The draft amendment was proposed by former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek, who spearheaded the second pillar under the previous government. A final decision on the matter will be up to the Chamber of Deputies. Far fewer clients signed up for the second pillar before a key deadline earlier this year than previously expected; it is thought that the raising of restrictions could make the package more attractive to potential clients.
The Regional Court in Prague, which will begin hearing the case of MP David Rath next week, has made clear TV cameras will only be allowed inside the courtroom in the first hour, after which reporters will only be allowed to take notes or make audio recordings. Media interest is expected to be very high; Mr Rath has been in custody since his arrest more than a year ago when he was apprehended with a suspected seven million crown bribe on his person. Ten others are are also charged in the corruption case, which begins on August 7.
The head of the president’s medical team will be Health Minister Martin Holcát, according to the daily Mladá fronta Dnes. The 12-member team, which will overlook the health of President Miloš Zeman, will most likely meet regularly (unlike the medical teams of the previous two presidents which met only in case of medical problems). The positions on the president’s medical team are usually unpaid.
A study by Česká pojišťovna – a Czech insurance company – has
shown that on average it takes less than two hours for unlocked bicycles
be stolen on Czech streets. The company left bikes unattended in 14 towns
and cities; the aim was to draw attention to theft as well as the
importance of theft insurance. The incidents in which bikes were taken
measured by stopwatch and captured on camera. The quickest theft took
in Hradec Králové, where the bike was stolen in just four minutes. In
Prague, the unlocked bike disappeared after an hour, in Brno after 26
minutes, and in Ostrava in 52 minutes.
By contrast, bikes left unlocked in České Budějovice, Jihlava and Pardubice were not stolen at all; the insurance company will donate those to charity. Some 8,000 bikes were reported stolen in the Czech Republic last year.
Viktoria Plzeň football team got a step closer to entering the European Champions League on Tuesday night, when they won 4:0 against the Estonian Nomme Kalju. Defender Marián Čišovský took care of the first two goals in Tallinn, while Michal Ďuriš and Lukáš Hejda got in the other two in the 77th and 90th minutes of the qualifying match. If Plzeň does not lose in its home game with Nomme Kalju next week, it will advance to the 4th round of the Champions League qualifiers.