Daily news summary
Babiš: Snap elections possible if second government fails to win confidence
The Czech Republic’s prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, has said early elections could take place if a second government he plans to form fails to win the necessary vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies. The ANO chief made the comment in an interview in Saturday’s edition of the newspaper Právo.
Mr. Babiš says he aims to gain support for a second government by the end of this month. He had previously ruled out snap elections. However, he says his preferred option remains an ANO one-party minority government.
The PM said he would continue speaking to the Communist Party and Freedom and Direct Democracy about possible backing for such a government.
Group files Holocaust denial complaint against Okamura
Konexe, which describes itself as a Czech-Romany association, has filed a criminal complaint of Holocaust denial against Freedom and Direct Democracy leader Tomio Okamura over statements he made about a WWII concentration camp for Romanies at Lety, south Bohemia.
Mr. Okamura said in an interview last week that inmates could come and go from the camp, which for the most part had no guards. He has since apologised for saying it had no fence.
Over 300 prisoners were killed at Lety and hundreds more were sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The site now houses a pig farm and the Czech state has made various moves to buy it from the current owners.
Czech FA wants investigation of club over rigging suspicions
The Czech Football Association have called on the police’s organised crime unit to investigate Czech third division club Mohelnice over suspicions of match-fixing involving a betting mafia based in Asia, the news website iDnes.cz reported.
A representative of the Moravia-based Mohelnice told Sport.cz that they had only heard about the move from the media but would cooperate with any investigation.
Suspicions centre on at least two games involving the club in the first half of this season. A Chinese company named Anping, which has faced similar accusations in Portugal and Ireland, entered the organisation last summer.
Police investigating Brno politician over Zeman cancer claim
The police are investigating as possible slander a claim by a Brno councillor that President Miloš Zeman had cancer, the newspaper Lidové noviny reported on Saturday. Svatopluk Bartík of the group Žít Brno wrote on his Facebook page in November that the head of state was suffering from the disease and had only a few months to live, arguing that the public had a right to know. The president’s doctors denied the claim.
Police in Brno have launched a criminal investigation into Mr. Bartík’s claims and will file charges if evidence is found, Lidové noviny said. The Office of the President previously filed a criminal complaint against the local politician, along with a demand for an apology and CZK 5 million in compensation.
Masopust events begin taking place in capital
Masopust celebrations have been held in various parts of Prague. The annual carnival in which many people dress up in masks and costumes was marked on Saturday in districts including Letná and Karlín. Next week the Mardi Gras-like celebrations will take place in Malá Strana, Žižkov and other parts of the city.
Masopust has traditionally occurred between the Epiphany (January 6) and Ash Wednesday, when the pre-Easter Lenten period begins.
Prague police deployed over National Theatre suicide threat
Prague police were called out to Prague’s National Theatre on Friday evening following a suicide threat, the Czech News Agency reported. A woman had phoned a helpline saying that she intended to kill herself during a performance of the opera Carmen at the historic venue.
The woman later called again saying she was no longer planning to take her life. The opera was not cancelled but the presence of numerous uniformed police officers drew a great deal of attention from audience members. A police spokesperson described it as an “unusual and complicated situation”.
Jágr to make first appearance for Kladno since signing this week
The Czech ice hockey legend Jaromír Jágr will on Saturday make his first appearance for Kladno since signing for his hometown club on Wednesday, following his return from the NHL.
Despite knee problems, the 45-year-old will take to the ice in a second-flight clash with Benátky nad Jizerou. The game has been switched from the latter’s stadium to Liberec due to demand for tickets.
Lining up for Benátky nad Jizerou should be another veteran ice hockey star, Petr Nedvěd. Nedvěd, who played in the NHL for 15 seasons, is 46.
Meteorologists say we can expect snow and temperatures of up to 1 degree Celsius in the Czech Republic on Sunday. More snow is likely in the following days.