Paroubek indicates Social Democrats not likely to join four-party coalition

The leader of the Social Democratic Party, Jiri Paroubek, has suggested it would be better for his party not to join a four-party ruling coalition being proposed by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. Speaking on a Czech TV news programme on Sunday Mr Paroubek stressed that he couldn't imagine the Social Democrats joining a government that would rule for only one a half years; the prime minister's plan suggests the government would run the country until the spring of 2008. On Sunday, Mr Paroubek said that his party had already rejected similar proposals in recent months, and indicated preference for a proposal counting on just two other parties with a longer mandate.

The Social Democrats are to make public their decision on Monday. Politicians are now in a second attempt to try and form a viable government after elections ended in stalemate in June.

Paroubek wants explanation for Dalik comments

In related news, Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek suggested to the press on Sunday that further negotiations between his party and the right-of-centre Civic Democrats led by Mirek Topolanek - would be halted unless the prime minister explained comments by a close aide - as revealed by the Czech newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes. According to the Saturday edition, Mr Dalik has been trying to woo a number of Social Democrat MPs - including one who recently left the party's deputies' club - to support a three-party coalition excluding the Social Democrats. Mr Dalik denied the story but his remarks were reportedly recorded by hidden camera.

Earlier, Mr Paroubek called on the prime minister to apologise for his aide's words; he has since indicated he will be seeking reassurances from Mr Topolanek that talks between the Social and Civic Democrats are being taken seriously if they are to continue.

Minister for changes regarding landlord/tenant legal relationship

The Minister for Regional Development Petr Gandalovic has said he is in favour of eventual changes that would redefine the legal relationship between landlords and tenants, namely in cases of apartments falling under regulated rent. In the 1990s in the Czech Republic many property owners gained tenants along with previous property confiscated by the communist regime. Mr Gandalovic, speaking on TV Prima on Sunday, said he imagined a "socially-acceptable" period that would act as a buffer before decrees on apartments were replaced by mutually agreed contracts between landlords and tenants. Mr Gandalovic was debating Social Democrat MP Stanislav Krecek, who opposed the idea. Mr Krecek countered by saying that young families starting out couldn't be expected to sign leases limited to terms of one or two years.

Customs officers confiscate counterfeit goods worth 80 million

Customs officers in the Czech Republic's second largest city of Brno confiscated counterfeit goods on Sunday worth an estimated 80 million crowns - the equivalent of around 3.7 million US dollars. Police moved in at a supplier's in what was the third day of raids at markets in various parts of the country. A spokesman said that it was one of the most successful raids ever in the south Moravian region. Most of the products confiscated are imitation brand-name goods: perfumes, textiles, and entertainment goods, weighing in at a total of around 50 tonnes. The Brno site raided on Sunday is not open to the general public but strictly to retailers.

Two charged in attack on home credit rep

A sixteen-year-old boy and his twenty-year-old accomplice have been charged with theft with regards to an attack on a loans & debts representative on Friday. The two, using a meat tenderiser, attacked a representative of Provident Financial home credit when he came to their address. A third person, a female, was also present. The man attacked suffered a blow to the head but managed to escape and is being treated in hospital. Police arrested the two suspects within twenty-four hours.

Poor weather conditions threaten World Cup skiing jumping at Harrachov

A World Cup ski jumping event at the Czech resort of Harrachov is reportedly at threat of being postponed unless weather conditions improve soon. Namely, temperatures must drop in order to allow for the production of artificial snow. Around Europe the dates for competition have been widely pushed back for lack of proper conditions. Harrachov was supposed to see the Continental Cup next weekend, also cancelled. Meteorologists have forecast that temperatures in most parts of the Czech Republic will remain above zero degrees Celsius until the end of November.


The forecast for the beginning of the week suggests drizzling rain and highs of around 10 degrees Celsius.