Civic Democratic Party leadership agrees to back centre-right cabinet
Following a stormy debate on Thursday, the Civic Democratic Party leadership agreed to back the prime minister's centre right coalition government, asking deputies to support it in the upcoming confidence vote. The decision was approved unanimously despite the fact that many senior party members do not approve of the division of ministerial posts. President Klaus has also expressed reservations regarding the cabinet line-up and has criticized the prime minister for failing to secure majority support for it in the lower house. It is not yet clear when he will appoint the new government.
Topolanek will resign as party leader if his cabinet fails to win confidence vote
Under fire from many of his party colleagues, Prime Minister Topolanek said on Thursday he would resign as party leader if his second attempt at forming a government failed. Mr. Topolanek's first attempt at forming a cabinet failed in October, but President Klaus entrusted him with the task once again a few days later. His chances of securing majority support in the upcoming confidence vote are slim due to an even division of power between right and left parties in the lower house.
Social Democrats rule out support for new cabinet
The Social Democratic Party has ruled out support for the proposed centre-right government. Following a meeting of the party's executive leadership, party boss Jiri Paroubek said his Social Democrats would not enter into talks on supporting or even tolerating the centre-right coalition government since both its line-up and policy programme were incompatible with his party's priorities.
Party leader Jiri Paroubek on Thursday met with President Klaus and proposed his own solution to the drawn-out political crisis. He said that if the prime minister's second attempt at forming a government failed, his party would be open to negotiations on a coalition between the two strongest parties and the Christian Democrats. He said that in this manner the country could avoid a constitutional crisis.
Lower house chairman to resign at the end of the month
The provisional Social Democrat chairman of the lower house Miloslav Vlcek has said he would, with all probability, resign from his post on January 30th. Before his election to the post of chairman Mr. Vlcek pledged to give up the job if two attempts to form a government failed. That was because it is the chairman of the lower house who will have the task of selecting a prime minister designate for the third attempt and, as a Social Democrat, Mr Vlcek's choice would be open to allegations of a party bias. The parliamentary parties will need to reach some kind of consensus on who should succeed Mr. Vlcek and select the next prime minister.
New road law proves effective
A total of 157 drivers have lost their drivers licenses after receiving 12 penal points for traffic offences since a strict new road law went into effect in July of last year. Traffic police say penal points are most frequently given for speeding and drinking and driving. Both independent experts and traffic police agree that the new road law has significantly influenced drivers' behaviour and statistics show a steady decline in the number of road deaths.
The coming days should be partly cloudy to overcast with daytime highs reaching 9 degrees Celsius.