Daily news summary

Sobotka government to resign on November 29th

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said he will hand over his government’s resignation on Wednesday, November 29th, i.e. after the newly-elected Chamber of Deputies ends its consituting session. Prime Minister Sobotka confirmed the date on Twitter on Friday.

President Miloš Zeman announced earlier that he would appoint ANO leader Andrej Babiš prime minister on December 6th, and would appoint his minority government on Friday, December 15th. The prime minister designate is expected to brief President Zeman on his cabinet line up next Tuesday.

TOP 09 electing new party leadership

The centre-right TOP 09 party is holding a two-day conference at which delegates are expected to elect a new leadership. The party is also analysing its poor showing in October’s general elections at which TOP 09 won 5.3 percent of the vote, which gave them just seven seats in the lower house.

The party’s outgoing leader Miroslav Kalousek has accepted responsibility for the election debacle and is not running for re-election. MEP Jiří Pospíšil, who recently joined the party, is seen as a hot candidate for the top post.

In his address to delegates, Mr. Kalousek said the party needed to address the problem of what he called the party’s poor regional network. The election of a new leadership is to take place on Sunday.

PPF investment group buys Škoda Transportation

The investment group PPF of Petr Kellner has signed an agreement on the purchase of 100 percent shares in the Plzen engineering company Škoda Transportation. The sales deal was confirmed by PPF spokeswoman Zuzana Migdalová, though she did not specify how much PPF paid for the company.

According to the business news site ihned it was over 10 billion crowns. With its 5,300 employees, Škoda Transportation is the biggest transport engineering company in Central and Eastern Europe.

Zeman’s rivals say president should coordinate foreign trips with government

The president of the Czech Republic should coordinate his foreign trips with the government, according to the eight presidential candidates who are challenging incumbent head of state Miloš Zeman for the country’s top post.

In a poll conducted by the ctk news agency all of them said they would fully respect this. Many are openly critical of the fact that Miloš Zeman’ s activities and statements are not always in line with the government’s foreign policy, sending mixed signals abroad.

Under the Constitution of the Czech Republic, is it the government which moulds the country’s foreign policy, not the head of state.

Moscow issues protest over vandalized statue of Russian Marshal Konev

Moscow has issued a sharp protest over the vandalizing of a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague which was spray painted with the dates 1956, 1961, 1968 and 2017 earlier this week. The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the act as vandalism and an insult to those who had laid down their lives in the liberation of Czechoslovakia.

The incident happened shortly after an offensive article appeared on a Russian web which said the Czech Republic should be grateful for the 1968 Soviet-led invasion which had brought the country 20 years of peace and stability. On a state visit to Russia, President Zeman protested against the insult to his country and Russian Prime Minister Medvedev publicly distanced himself from the article.

Marshal Konev is perceived as a controversial figure in the Czech Republic. After being present on several fronts in WWII, Konev was involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and was also present in Berlin for the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

Man who played protest song at Zeman meeting committed misdemeanour

A police investigation has concluded that the sound engineer who played the 1968 protest song Prayer for Martha during one of President Zeman’s meetings with the public in the town of Lipníku nad Bečvou had committed a misdemeanour.

The sound engineer who chose this way to protest against the policies of Miloš Zeman could be fined 15,000 crowns. The police presidium also said that the police action against the man had been justified.

The police forced their way into the man’s flat, stopped the music and took him away for questioning on the grounds that he had violated the right to assembly. The Czech Helsinki Committee protested against the police action.

Weather forecast

Sunday should be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius and scattered rain or snow showers.