The newly-elected leadership of the Social Democratic Party met in Prague on Sunday to discuss immediate priorities and agree on a division of competences within the party leadership. Bohuslav Sobotka was confirmed in the top post over the weekend and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec was re-elected first deputy. Party leader Sobotka said at the close of the election conference that the party was united and ready for battle in the autumn general elections.
At least half of Czech secondary students are not media literate, according to the results of a survey conducted by the NGO People in Need at 132 schools around the country. Despite growing awareness of the need to connect classroom learning to the real world only half of the secondary schools surveyed made media education part of their curricula. Its introduction was first recommended to schools ten years ago. Some of the schools that have introduced media education only devote ten hours a year to it.
President Zeman has said he would like for the present coalition of Social Democrats and ANO to continue in office after the autumn parliamentary elections. Speaking to the commercial daily Blesk, Zeman said the outcome would not depend on the president but on voters themselves. The head of state also confirmed that in the course of this year he would be holding talks with the presidents of the US, China and Russia. He said he would be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in November.
Proposed amendments to the foreigners’ law currently being debated in Parliament could significantly complicate the life of foreigners in the Czech Republic, according to the Chamber of Commerce and non-governmental institutions helping immigrants. They point out that the amendments, which proponents claim are in the interest of national security, could impact Czechs married to a foreigner or those employing foreign workers. According to the proposed changes foreigners who are refused residence by the Interior Ministry could no longer take their case to court as they may now. According to Magda Faltova, head of the Association for Integration, over a quarter of these court appeals are successful. Foreigners filing applications would also have to present the originals of documents such as birth or wedding certificates.
Lower house deputy Milan Urban is a hot candidate for the post of industry minister vacated following the dismissal of Jan Mladek, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported, citing three independent sources. Mr. Urban himself refused to confirm the news, telling journalists they would have to wait until Monday. Government spokesman Martin Ayrer said the prime minister was still due to meet with potential candidates. Milan Urban served as industry minister in the years between 2003 and 2006 under three successive prime ministers.
Martina Sáblíková took gold in the 3000m to win her 11th consecutive long distance World Cup at the ISU Speed Skating World Cup Final Stavanger on Saturday. The triple Olympic gold medalist clocked a winning time of 4 min 04.21sec to beat nearest challenger Antoinette de Jong of The Netherlands by 1.14 seconds and seal her World Cup triumph with a total of 630 points. Sáblíková dominated the long distances as usual this season. She won four of five 3000m races and the only 5000m race in Heerenveen.
A two-day election conference of the ruling Social Democratic Party ended in the Moravian metropolis of Brno on Saturday with party leader Bohuslav Sobotka declaring that the party was united and ready to give a good showing in the autumn parliamentary elections. On Friday party leader Bohuslav Sobotka was re-elected to the top post receiving support from 67 percent of delegates. He ran unchallenged. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec was confirmed in the post of first deputy. Among the foreign guests at the conference were Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.
President Zeman’s supporters have started collecting signatures in support of his candidacy for president. Although the Social Democratic Party has yet to vote on whether to field or back a candidate, Zeman’s supporters started gathering signatures in his support in Brno where the party held its election conference over the weekend. The Bloc against Islam is reported to have collected a thousand signatures in Prague and Zeman’s long-term supporter Jana Volfová has collected 1,500. As an independent candidate Zeman needs to collect 50,000 signatures to enter the race.