PM cancels US trip


Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has cancelled his visit to the United States, planned for next week, due to political turmoil within his own party, the Civic Democrats. Mr Topolánek, who was to meet with US President George W. Bush during his visit, has come under pressure following his party’s crushing defeat in regional elections last weekend. In an attempt to get the situation in his party under control, Mr Topolánek invited one of his rivals, Petr Bendl, one of the former regional governors voted out of office last week, to join the cabinet. However Mr. Bendl declined the offer. The Prime Minister also criticized President Václav Klaus, the founder of the Civic Democrats and the party’s honorary chairman, for interfering in party politics, after the president publicly backed Mr Topolánek’s critics. Mr Topolánek will defend his position as party leader at the Civic Democrat congress due to take place in December.