Bohuslav Sobotka announced on Sunday afternoon that the team that will negotiate with possible future coalition partners will comprise of deputy chairpersons Alena Gajdůšková, Milan Chovanec and Lubomír Zaorálek as well as the Senate chairman Milan Štěch. Mr. Sobotka himself will be leading the team. The first meeting with the ANO party, which came in second in the elections and as seen as a likely partner for the Social Democrats, is planned for Sunday evening. Next up will be the Christian Democrats, with whom Mr. Sobotka is hoping to meet on Monday.
The central executive committee of the Social Democratic party has voted down a resolution from two weeks ago, in which party leadership called on chairman Bohuslav Sobotka to step down. At a meeting on Sunday, the 180-member committee also passed a resolution which condemns the actions of a group of ‘rebels’, led by former deputy chairman Michal Hašek, who tried to oust Mr. Sobotka from his post. The committee is expected to confirm Mr. Sobotka as the party chairman and appoint him the head of the negotiation team that will lead the efforts to form a new government.
Bohuslav Sobotka said on Sunday that he is planning to request a meeting with President Zeman. The Social Democratic party chairman added that he views the first post-election meeting as an informal one and does not expect that the president will name him prime minister designate right away. Mr. Sobotka is hoping to put together a new cabinet before the end of the year. The Social Democrats received the most votes in the October general elections, but negotiations about a future government have been delayed by in-party disputes.
A number of Czech humanitarian organizations have opened special charity accounts and are preparing to send some of their emergency funds to the Philippines, in order to help the victims of typhoon Haiyan. Adra Czech Republic and the local branch of Charitas are both asking the public to contribute to the special accounts and are ready to sent 100,000 crowns and 250,000 crowns, respectively, from their crisis funds. The death toll from one of the strongest typhoons to make landfall in recorded history is currently estimated to be at least 10,000 people.
The Prague metro’s special meeting train cars, meant for people looking for friends or partners, was not deemed a big success by most media outlets on the first weekend of the project. Most journalists who tried out the special cars on the A line said that the project was badly advertised and the cars were not marked, so most people did not know about their significance. Additionally, the a large percentage of people taking the A line, especially over the weekend, are tourists. Earlier, the transit authority, which refers to the cars as “communication carriages”, has backed down on its original plan to designate the carriages strictly for people looking for new partners.
The tenth Days of Passive Housing took place over the weekend, offering 13 locations around the Czech Republic where people could visit energy efficient buildings. There are only a few hundred houses in the country that have received the passive building certificate, but interest in this type of housing has been growing in the recent years. The Czech government offers 400,000 crown subsidies for the construction of a passive house to individuals from Green Savings program.
The Czech hockey team have lost 0:2 against the Russians at the Karjala Cup in Finland. The Czechs, who are the defending champions, lost all three of the matches at the tournament, taking fourth place. So far this season, the Czech national team has lost five out of six matches, which does not bode well for their success at the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi.
FBI agents have arrested a man suspected of robbery and torture in Prague. Hossein Nayeri and three others were charged with kidnapping for ransom, aggravated mayhem, torture and burglary after they allegedly drove the owner of a California medical marijuana dispensary to the dessert last October and brutally tortured him in order to get money from him. One of the suspects was arrested already last year, while two others were arrested on Friday in Fresno. Mr. Nayeri was allegedly transferring flights in Prague on Thursday on his way to see his family in Spain. He will face extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic.
The Christian Democratic party wants to see their chairman Pavel Bělobrádek become the deputy speaker of the lower house, if they were to enter into a coalition government with the Social Democrats and the ANO party. The deputy chairwoman of ANO, Věra Jourová, announced on Friday that her party expects to receive five or six cabinet posts in the possible new government, and are most interested in the ministries of interior, foreign affairs and finance. ANO also want to nominate one of their deputies for the post of speaker of the lower house. The Social Democrats, who received the most votes in the October general elections, are planning to begin discussions on the possible make-up of the future government on Saturday evening at the meeting of the party leadership.
A nursing secondary school in Prague has forbidden two of its female Muslim students to wear the tradition hijab headdress to class, causing the students to leave the school. One of the students offered to wear the scarf in a way that would only cover her hair, but the school’s principal said that it was still unacceptable. The other student began attending classes without the hijab, but also left the school a few days later. The school said that wearing any headgear is against official policies and that the 23-year-old Somali and the 25-year-old Afghan students had other problems with school rules, which the young women deny. There are currently no laws in the Czech Republic, which concern religious dress in public.