Daily news summary

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PM promises party, government reshuffle in wake of election defeat

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has promised a government reshuffle and changes at key party posts following the Social Democrats’ defeat in October’s regional and Senate elections. In a letter to party colleagues, cited by the news site novinky.cz, Sobotka says the party needs new blood ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections and he is ready to make changes at both party posts and in the government. The changes are to be announced within a month. The Social Democrats have seven ministers in the cabinet. The prime minister himself has come under pressure to accept responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the elections. A recent poll conducted by the STEM agency saw the Social Democrat’s popularity rating drop to 14.4 percent, slightly behind the Communist Party, while its partner in government ANO shot up to 29.7 percent.

PM: Social Democrats would not benefit from closer ties with president

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said the Social Democrats would not benefit from closer ties with President Miloš Zeman. Resisting calls from some party members for reconciliation with the president, following the party’s defeat in October’s regional and Senate elections, Mr. Sobotka said that President Zeman today was far removed from the Social Democrat agenda and leaned towards national-conservative views. In an interview for the weekly Echo, the prime minister also backtracked on an earlier call for the Social Democrats to hold a party referendum on their candidate for president, saying that the party could split over Miloš Zeman which would seriously harm its chances in the 2017 parliamentary elections.

Council of Europe: Czech Republic violating Social Charter

The European Committee of Social Rights has concluded that the Czech Republic has violated the European Social Charter in failing to provide sufficient access to housing, health care and education to the Roma minority. The committee which dealt with a complaint by the European Roma and Travellers Forum said the Czech Republic has violated articles 11 and 16 of the Social Charter. The ERTF complained that Roma in the Czech Republic face lack of accessible housing, residential segregation, inadequate living conditions and forced evictions as well as discrimination in education through the practice of placing many Roma children in schools for pupils with learning disabilities. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, has urged the Czech prime minister to urgently address these issues.

Lawyer Samková not to be charged for comparing Islam to Nazism

Lawyer Klara Samková, who compared Islam to Nazism and Communism during a seminar in the lower house, will not be charged, Czech Radio reported on Friday citing police sources. The police reportedly closed the case on the grounds that Samková’s statement came within the bounds of freedom of speech. The Turkish ambassador to Prague who was present at the hearing and a number of other foreign diplomats left the assembly hall in protest. The Lawyers’ Chamber which had considered expelling her for violation of the chamber’s ethical codex has also shelved the case.

Pianist Lukáš Vondráček to perform at Prague’s Rudolfinum

The outstanding Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček will perform at Prague’s Rudolfinum on Friday night together with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Vondráček, who won the Queen Elisabeth Competition for young musicians earlier this year, will perform Witold Lutoslawski’s Little Suite, Sergej Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto in C major and Petr Iljič Čajkovskij’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor under the baton of Polish conductor Michał Nesterowicz. The talented Czech pianist, who first performed in Carnegie Hall at sixteen, now lives and works in Boston, performing with leading music ensembles the world over.

Czechs get off to winning start in Karjala Cup

In ice hockey, the Czech team started with a winning 6:3 victory against Sweden in the first Karjala Cup tie in Plzeň on Thursday night. Five goals came from the formation of Radil, Kovář, and Kubalík. The Czechs went ahead in the first minute with a goal from Jeřabek and never allowed the Swedes to draw level. In the last three Karjala Cup competitions, in which Finland and Russia also play, the Czechs have come in the last, fourth, place.

Weather forecast

The weekend should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain in the north-west and day temperatures between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.