News

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President to appoint new government on Tuesday

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said he will appoint a new government led by Civic Democrat Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Tuesday, seven months after inconclusive national elections. Mr Topolanek has formed a three-party coalition with the centrist Christian Democrats, the Green Party and his own right-of-centre Civic Democrats but the grouping has only 100 votes in the 200-seat lower house. Prime Minister Topolanek said earlier he would offer his resignation if the coalition fails to win a confidence vote, which must be called within 30 days of the government being appointed. Mr Topolanek's first - minority Civic Democrat - government lost a confidence vote in October.

President Klaus earlier expressed objections to the three-party coalition because, he said, it would have to rely on Social Democrat or Communist Party deserters to win a confidence vote. He also opposed the Green Party's nomination of long-time exiled senator Karel Schwarzenberg as foreign minister, fearing that his close links to neighbouring Austria would prevent him from championing Czech interests. Mr Topolanek has also come under fire from within his own party ranks for allocating more than half the cabinet posts to junior coalition partners.

Topolanek: Civic Democrat congress should be held if government fails

Prime Minister and Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek has said his party should hold an extraordinary congress if his second government does not win confidence in the lower house. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Topolanek said the delegates should then set new terms for negotiations on forming a cabinet. Mr Topolanek also said he was prepared to ask the lower house for a confidence vote before the 30-day deadline set by the constitution.

Topolanek: ODS congress should be held if government fails

Prime Minister and Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek has said his party should hold an extraordinary congress if his second government does not win confidence in the lower house. Mr Topolanek also said he was prepared to ask the lower house for a confidence vote before the 30-day deadline set by the constitution.

Czech state debt rises to 802.5 billion crowns

The Czech Republic's state debt rose by more than 56 billion crowns (2.7 billion USD) in the last quarter of 2006 to reach 802.5 billion crowns (382 billion USD), the finance ministry said on Monday. During last year, the state debt increased by 111 billion crowns.

Part of Czech contingent returns from Kosovo mission

Around a hundred Czech soldiers have returned from a six-month KFOR mission in Kosovo. The rest of the Czech contingent will follow later. The task of the Czech troops was to ensure security, aid the local and international police, search for illegal weapons and prevent ethnic conflicts in the region.

Greens to negotiate on future of nuclear power in government

The Green party is ready to negotiate about the future of nuclear power in the Czech Republic, the party's candidate for education minister in the new government, Dana Kuchtova, said on Monday. However, Ms Kuchtova denied speaking about the closure of the Czech Temelin nuclear power plant in the near future in an interview for an Austrian local newspaper. That, Ms Kuchtova said, would be politically unrealistic. The chairman of the Green Party, Martin Bursik, confirmed that the Greens will not try and push through the closure of Temelin in the four-year term of the coalition cabinet.

Press: Czechoslovak Hussite Church rocked by sex scandal

Monday's edition of Mlada fronta Dnes writes that the Czechoslovak Hussite Church has been rocked by a sex scandal. According to the paper, its Prague bishop allegedly demanded sexual favours from a 27-year-old man whom the cleric had been helping to return to normal life after serving a prison sentence. The daily writes that part of the clergy and church members are demanding the 55-year old priest to resign. The Czechoslovak Hussite Church is a reformed Christian church which separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1920.

Weather

The next few days are expected to be partly cloudy with scattered showers and daytime temperatures between 6 and 11 degrees Celsius.