Daily news summary News

18-01-2007

Mirek Topolanek's new cabinet to face confidence vote on Friday

The centre-right coalition cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek faces a crucial vote of confidence on Friday which it hopes will end a seven-month period without a stable government resulting from inconclusive elections. The governing coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Green Party has exactly 100 votes in the 200-seat lower house but two MPs from the Social Democratic Party had agreed to enable the government to win Friday's vote by not taking part in it.

This is the second chance for Mr Topolanek to form a cabinet after his first minority Civic Democrat government failed a confidence vote in October. The coalition government has set itself an ambitious series of targets, such as to reform public spending and the pension and healthcare systems, but it is unlikely to find majority support for its goals in the chamber.

Social Democrats to monitor rebel MPs' property even after 10 years

The Social Democrats say they are ready to monitor the property situation of MPs Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka not only in the near future but even after five or ten years. Party leader Jiri Paroubek made the statement on Thursday, one day ahead of a crucial confidence vote in the lower house. Social Democrat MPs Melcak and Pohanka said earlier they were prepared to enable the centre-right coalition government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to win confidence in Friday's vote. The Social Democrats have made allegations of corruption.

European Court of Justice condemns CR for failing to recognise doctors' qualification

The European Court of Justice has ruled the Czech Republic is breaching EU law regarding recognition of qualification of medical doctors and dentists. The court upheld an earlier decision by the European Commission which will now decide on further steps against the Czech Republic. The EU criticises the fact that doctors and dentists from other EU countries working in the Czech Republic for a short period of time need to register with the Czech medical chamber while under EU legislation they only need certificates from their home countries.

Lawyer demands 18 billion from Social Democrats

The CTK news agency reports that the Social Democratic Party might be facing bankruptcy. Prague lawyer Zdenek Altner says he has filed a bankruptcy petition saying the party owes him 18 billion crowns (or 850 million US dollars) for his services in a legal dispute over the ownership of the party's Prague headquarters. The amount demanded includes interest and sanctions. The party has not commented on the report.

Culture Minister prepared to resign if forced to appoint deputy Frantisek Formanek

Culture Minister Helena Trestikova says she is ready to resign from her post if she is forced to appoint Frantisek Formanek as her deputy. Mrs Trestikova said she had refused to appoint him earlier as she had chosen another candidate for the post. Mrs Trestikova said on Thursday she understood that the current political negotiations were complex but she was not willing to sacrifice her honour and dignity in order to keep her post.

Fugitive billionaire detained in Seychelles, released again

Czech Television and the internet news server Aktualne.cz have reported that Czech fugitive billionaire Radovan Krejcir was detained in the Seychelles for illegal arms possession but was later released. Radovan Krejcir fled the Czech Republic in 2005 to avoid prosecution in a number of criminal cases, including conspiracy for murder. He has lived with his family in the Seychelles ever since.

Government agrees policy statement

The coalition government led by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek approved on Wednesday its policy statement with which it will ask the Chamber of Deputies for a vote of confidence. Deputy prime minister Petr Necas made the announcement during the government session on Wednesday without giving further details. The centre-right coalition made-up of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and Greens has included in the document concessions agreed with Social Democrat deputies Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka in return for tolerance for the government.

In agreement with the MPs, the government has pledged, for example, not to raise taxes but to introduce tax reform that will be advantageous for all income groups. The government is also to draw up a new bill on non-profit hospitals that will guarantee the existence of teaching hospitals based on the non-profit principle.

Weather

Meteorologists warn of gale force wind forecast for Thursday night through to Friday, especially in mountainous areas. Daytime temperatures in the next couple of days should remain at around 10 degrees Celsius.

18-01-2007