Daily news summary

Transport minister confirms he will be leaving the cabinet

Transport Minister Dan Ťok has confirmed that he will be leaving the cabinet in the coming weeks. The transport minister told the news site novinky.cz on Monday that he had told the prime minister he wanted out of the cabinet and out of politics. Mr. Ťok is being blamed for the state of the country’s permanently congested D1 highway and procrastination in failing to secure a new operator for the tolling system on Czech highways.

President Miloš Zeman are Prime Minister Andrej Babis are to meet for talks on Wednesday, to discuss the planned cabinet reshuffle.

There has been speculation in the media that aside from Transport Minister Dan Ťok, the reshuffle will also affect Industry and Trade Minister Marta Nováková. Nováková has recently come under fire over an incident when a representative of Taiwan was forced to leave a diplomatic meeting at the Trade Ministry at the request of the Chinese ambassador.

Parties running in European elections draw numbers

The Czech national electoral commission on Monday allotted numbers by lot to all 40 parties and political groupings running in elections to the European Parliament.

Voters will receive a sheaf of ballot papers of the parties running according to their numbers. The parties can also use their numbers in their campaigns.

The Czech Republic has 21 seats in the 751-member European Parliament.

In the previous European elections five years ago, ANO, the Social Democrats and TOP 09 together with the Mayors and Independents won four seats each, the Communist Party and the Christian Democrats won three seats each, the Civic Democrats won two seats and the Party of Free Citizens one.

Prague taxi drivers protest against new government legislation

Several dozen Prague taxi drivers on Monday joined a protest march against a bill under which taxi services providers would no longer be required to use taximeters and pass a test proving knowledge of a city’s streets.

The legislation, which was approved by the Government to legalize the app-based services, will now go before the lower house of Parliament. The Association of Czech Taxi Drivers, which organized the protest, says the bill could lead to the destruction of traditional taxi services.

Record number of volunteers join in national Clean-up Day

A record 65,000 people joined in “Let’s Clean up the Czech Republic Day” over the weekend.

The event organized by the Czech Union of Nature Conservation is traditionally held in the spring and autumn, the latter on World Clean-Up Day.

Volunteers collected over 1,000 tons of garbage at the weekend, focusing primarily on car tires of which they collected over 16,000 pieces on illegal dumps and in rivers.

The clean-up event was first held in 2014 and has since gained an increasing number of supporters.

Radka Denemarková wins Magnesia Litera with Hours of Lead

The Magnesia Litera award for Czech Book of the Year has gone to ‘Hodiny z olova’ (Hours of Lead) by Radka Denemarková, a novel inspired by the author’s stay in China. Denemarková has previously won Magnesia Litera awards for prose, non-fiction and best translation.

The prestigious Magnesia Litera award for prose went to Pavla Horáková’s ‘Teorie podivnosti’ (A Theory of Strangeness) about the life of a young researcher at the fictional Institute of Interdisciplinary Human Studies. Prizes in six other categories were also handed out at Sunday’s awards ceremony in Prague.

Jobless rate at 3 percent

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic dropped to 3 percent in March 2019 from 3.2 percent in the previous month, according to data released by the Labour Office on Monday.

It is the lowest jobless rate since last November, with the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 14,000 from the previous month to 227,000.

The drop is attributed to the renewal of seasonal work and meets market expectations.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain in the south of the country and day temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.