Daily news summary

Babiš to inform Zeman about government formation efforts next week

The prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, will next week inform President Miloš Zeman about his ongoing efforts to form a new government, the latter’s spokesperson, Jiří Ovčáček, said on Tuesday. Mr. Ovčáček said that Mr. Zeman would not issue the ANO leader with a deadline to create a cabinet soon, adding that he had plenty of time until the summer.

Mr. Babiš, whose first attempt to form a government ended after a failed confidence vote, said last week that he would try to accelerate the process. He is due to meet representatives of the Communists, Freedom and Direct Democracy and the Social Democrats on Thursday.

The leader of the Civic Democrats said he regarded an invitation to speak to ANO as nothing but an instrument to exert pressure on other potential coalition parties.

Anti-terrorism barriers installed ahead of Easter holidays

The authorities in Prague are installing concrete barriers meant to foil terrorist attacks ahead of the Easter holiday, City Hall spokesman Vít Hofman said on Tuesday. The barriers have already appeared on the downtown square náměstí Republiky and will go up on Wenceslas Square on Friday. Concrete barricades are permanently in place on Old Town Square.

Mr. Hofman said the barriers were a preventative measure linked to planned Easter markets. Prague traditionally draws many thousands of tourists during the holiday season.

Czech TV support demonstration to coincide with Zeman concert

A demonstration in support of Czech Television is set to take place on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Wednesday evening. Entitled We Won’t Give Zeman CT!, it comes in response to an attack by President Miloš Zeman on the station and other journalists during his inauguration speech last Thursday.

The protest will take place at the same time the freshly reinstalled head of state hosts a concert for supporters at Prague Castle. Performers at the event are set to include Helena Vondráčková, Daniel Hůlka, Václav Neckář and Michal David.

Mr. Zeman’s purported intention of undermining Czech Television was also highlighted by filmmakers at the Czech Lion movie awards on Saturday evening.

Decision on Nikulin’s extration postponed pending appeal

The Constitutional Court has postponed the enforceability of a decision on the extradition of alleged Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin to the United States or Russia, until the court reaches a decision on his appeal, the ctk news agency reported on Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the Constitutional Court said it was not clear how long the ruling could take.

Yevgeny Nikulin lodged a constitutional appeal against a ruling by the Supreme Court allowing his extradition to the United States and against his continued remand in custody in the Czech Republic. Both the US and Russia are seeking his extradition.

In the US he is supected of hacking computers at Silicon Valley firms including LinkedIn and Dropbox, while the Russian authorities have charged him with Internet theft.

It recently emerged that President Zeman had repeatedly lobbied for Nikulin’s extradition to Russia. A final decision is to be made by the Czech justice minister.

Major renovations planned for National Gallery’s Trade Fair Palace

The director of the Czech National Gallery, Jiří Fajt, says he wants to launch an international architecture competition to renovate the institution’s Trade Fair Palace soon. Repairs to the Functionalist structure, which houses the gallery’s modern art collection, are expected to cost around CZK 3 billion and begin around 2021. On a visit to the Prague building on Monday evening the prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, and the arts minister in resignation, Ilja Šmíd, declared their support for Mr. Fajt’s plans.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast with some rain in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 8 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are expected to fall in the following days, reaching around freezing point at the weekend.