Talks on a broad coalition government collapse

Talks on forming a broad coalition government in the Czech Republic collapsed on Wednesday night when the Civic Democratic Party abruptly ended talks with its main rival -the Social Democratic Party. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said that differences over policy issues and the make-up of the cabinet were too great to overcome. The Civic Democrats said they would renew talks on a three party right-wing cabinet with the Christian Democrats and the Greens, in the hope that some rebel Social Democrat deputies would support it.

Paroubek requests meeting with President Klaus

Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has requested a meeting with President Klaus in order to discuss the latest political developments. Mr. Paroubek said he hoped the president would stick to his word and refuse to appoint a government based on one or two turn-coats. The Social Democrat leader said the rival Civic Democrats were entirely to blame for the present situation, since the only way out of the deadlock was an agreement between the two strongest parties.

Rebel deputy threatens to tip balance of power

Milos Melcak, a rebel deputy for the Social Democrats who recently left the party's deputies' group in the lower house is threatening to tip the balance of power and support a right-wing cabinet. Mr. Melcak said his party should accept its election defeat and go into opposition before it loses more public support. If supporting a right wing cabinet would get it there, Mr. Melcak said, he would be prepared to do that. Fearful of a rebellion in the Social Democrat camp, the party leader Jiri Paroubek has made all the Social Democrat deputies sign a pledge that they would remain loyal to the party line. He said on Thursday he wanted all rebels expelled from the party.

Cunek says support from turncoats unacceptable

Christian Democrat leader Jiri Cunek has said he will not support a government which would have to rely on a number of turn-coats. Mr. Cunek said the falling out between the two strongest parties was "unfortunate" and that if they could not agree on a stable government his party would prefer to support early elections.

President Klaus says Topolanek could give up his chance to form a government

Reacting to the latest developments President Klaus said on Thursday that Prime Minister Topolanek could give up his chance to form a government, opening the way for someone else to be entrusted with the task. The second chance at forming a governments ends with a confidence vote, Mr. Klaus said. If Mirek Topolanek should decide not to see it through I would search for a different solution, find a different candidate, the president said. The Civic Democratic Party said this was highly improbable.

Czech Skoda Auto sees 580,000 cars produced in 2007

The Czech Republic's biggest car maker, Skoda Auto, expects to produce around 580,000 cars next year, board member Martin Jahn announced on Thursday. The car maker, part of the Volkswagen Group, said it had manufactured more than half a million cars for the first time in a single year on November 22. Company managers expect the final 2006 figure for production and sales to exceed 530,000 vehicles.


The next few days are expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.