Daily news summary
ANO leader against early elections, calls for other solution
ANO chief Andrej Babiš has come out against early elections as a possible solution to the ongoing political impasse in the Czech Republic. Speaking on Saturday, the prime minister in resignation said nobody wanted snap elections. He said another solution must be sought as everybody was now tired of the situation
Mr. Babiš said he had come under fire but parties such as the Civic Democrats and had ruled out forming a coalition with ANO soon after elections in October, in which his party received almost 30 percent.
The Civic Democrats and other groupings refuse to work with a government headed by a prime minister facing criminal charges. Mr. Babiš is accused of abusing EU subsidies.
His indictment was also a point of contention during coalition talks with the Social Democrats, which collapsed this week.
Babiš: Zeman position on government formation key
The acting Czech prime minister, ANO’s Andrej Babiš, says the position of President Miloš Zeman will be key as regards further steps to form a new government. Mr. Babiš is due to consult with the head of state on Tuesday.
Talks between ANO and the Social Democrats on forming a minority government that would be backed by the Communists broke down on Thursday night.
The sticking point in the negotiations was the Social Democrats’ demand that the party head the Ministry of the Interior. Mr. Babiš told Czech Television he could only imagine that was so they could “cover something up”.
The acting PM also said that the Social Democrats had not expressed interest in the labour and social affairs portfolio, which was close to their manifesto.
Justice Minister Pelikán to quit politics
The acting minister of justice, Robert Pelikán of ANO, will not be in the next government and is set to quit politics. Mr. Pelikán made the announcement in an interview for the news site aktuálně.cz. He said he planned to leave the Chamber of Deputies but did not specify when.
Mr. Pelikán said he had made the decision due to differences of outlook with ANO. However, he said he would remain a member of the party.
The minister said he had been weighing up the move for some time. He said his decision to extradite alleged hacker Yevgeny Nikulin to the US was also a factor; the response from some political quarters was hostile and he did not wish this to make forming a new government harder, Mr. Pelikán said.
Social Democrats mark 140 years since foundation in Prague hostelry
The Social Democrats are on Saturday marking the 140th anniversary of the party’s establishment. The grouping was founded at the still extant pub U Kaštanu in the Prague 6 district on 7 April 1878 under the name Social Democratic Czechoslavonic Party in Austria.
It was the second biggest party in the period following the establishment of Czechoslovakia. After 1948 it was swallowed into the Communist Party.
During the 1990s the Social Demcorats became a major electoral force under the leadership of current president Miloš Zeman. In the last elections the party suffered a major setback, coming sixth with just over 7 percent of the vote after heading the previous government.
Škoda workers set for 20 percent pay increase
Workers at carmakers Škoda Auto look set to get a pay rise amounting to 20 percent, the Czech News Agency reported. Individual unions at the country’s biggest exporter have approved a management pay offer that would see basic salaries rise by 12 percent, valid from April 1. A union umbrella group must still rubberstamp the offer.
Counting overtime, Škoda employees should see their pay packets expand by over 20 percent. Last year workers at the company got an average of CZK 40,557 a month. The new pay deal should be in place for a one-year period.
Czechs overcome Israel to reach Davis Cup playoffs
The Czech Republic’s men’s tennis team have reached the playoffs for the elite World Group in the Davis Cup. The Czechs made it 3:1 against Israel with a doubles win in Ostrava on Saturday for an unassailable lead on games in the best of five series.
The draw for the playoffs takes place next Wednesday. The Czech Republic won the Davis Cup in 2012 and 2013.
It should be bright with the chance of rain in the Czech Republic on Sunday. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 17 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs will be in the high teens or more through next week.