Daily news summary

Social Democrats chief predicts close result of vote on ANO coalition

Social Democrats chairman Jan Hamáček says that he expects the outcome of an internal party vote on whether to enter a coalition with ANO to be close. Mr. Hamáček – who backs such a coalition – made the comment after a meeting of party representatives in the Moravian Silesian Region on Monday evening.

The party leader said he had a “good feeling” after the gathering. However, he conceded that opinion was evenly split on whether to enter a minority coalition with ANO that would likely be supported on key votes by the Communist Party.

Mr. Hamáček has been trying to drum up backing for the mooted coalition at local branches of the Social Democrats. The internal party ballot began on Monday and will continue until mid-June.

Chambers: Stay at home ministers harming companies abroad

Government ministers have stopped taking part in international trips with Czech entrepreneurs and this could cost the latter in terms of deals, a number of business chambers said in a statement to the Czech News Agency on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Chamber of Commerce, Miroslav Diro, said Czech firms could lose out to rivals from other states when it comes to import and export opportunities. Mr. Diro said the minister of finance and minister of industry and trade often helped open doors for his group’s members internationally.

The acting prime minister, Andrej Babiš, has in the past said that the state is not a travel agency. He said the country should be represented by diplomats, who are paid for that service, abroad.

Prague gets ball rolling on additional section of “D” Metro line

Prague council has instructed the Prague Institute of Planning and Development to change the city’s territorial plan to allow for the building of a further section of a planned new “D” Metro line. The addition to the underground rail network should run northeast from Náměstí Míru to Žižkov and then on to Vysočany. However, it is not yet clear what precise route it will follow or where it will have stations.

The first part of the D line should run from Písnice in the south of the city to Pankrác, which should later be connected to Náměstí Míru. Discussions about constructing a fourth Metro line began in the 1980s.

Czech Foreign Ministry concerned over developments in Venezuela

The Czech Foreign Ministry has expressed deep concern over the result of Venezuela’s presidential election in which leftist authoritarian leader Nicolas Maduro defended his post on Sunday.

In a statement issued on Monday the ministry said the election lacked fundamental democratic elements, opposition parties and organizations have been under permanent pressure and there have been persistent violations of human rights in the country.

It called on Venezuela’s government to launch a constructive dialogue with the opposition, release all political prisoners and respect human rights and freedoms.

Strong earthquake recorded near Cheb

Another earthquake occurred in the Cheb area of West Bohemia on Monday night. The tremors, which reached up to 4.1 on the Richter Scale, were strongest before midnight, seismologists said. The area around Cheb – which is in the Karlovy Vary Region – has been experiencing a series of earthquakes over the last two weeks. However, Monday night’s was likely the strongest this year.

Tremors were felt in half of the territory of the Czech Republic and in Bavaria, which neighbours West Bohemia.

Čech wins award from journalists for 12th time

Goalkeeper Petr Čech has won the Golden Ball for Czech footballer of the year for the 12th time. The prize is decided by a poll of journalists. Čech, who turned 36 on Sunday, finished ahead of midfielder Antonín Barák of Italian club Udinese and Pavel Kadeřábek, a defender with Hoffenheim.

Last season the Arsenal man became the first goalkeeper in the English Premier League to achieve 200 clean sheets. Though now retired from the international game, he is the most capped Czech ever with 124 appearances.

Weather forecast

Wednesday should see bright spells with a strong chance of storms in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 22 degrees Celsius. More storms and rain and similar daytime highs are due through to the start of next week.