News

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Green Party wants early elections no later than the spring of 2008

Czech rival parties are making known their stands on early elections, ahead of this weeks government talks led by the Civic Democrats. The Green Party which had been pushing for early elections in 2007 on Tuesday softened its stand, saying that it would accept early elections in the spring of 2008 at the latest. Party leader Martin Bursik said that his party considered a shortened government mandate to be a top priority and only if that were satisfactory would he be prepared to discuss the division of power in the new coalition cabinet.

Christian Democrats say election term is not decisive to an agreement

Following a meeting of the Christian Democrat leadership on Tuesday the party's acting head Jan Kasal said the Christian Democrats did not consider the term of the next general elections decisive in reaching agreement on a new government. Mr. Kasal said his party was prepared to take part in a coalition government and form a buffer between the two strongest parties - the Civic and Social Democrats. We are prepared to do this in the interest of stability in the Czech Republic - with or without the Green Party, Mr. Kasal said.

The Christian Democrats will enter into the government talks ahead of a change of leadership at the party's national conference in December. There are already indications that the controversial Christian Democrat candidate for party chairman Jiri Cunek is now viewed as a potential partner in the talks. Senator Cunek who as mayor of Vsetin elicited both criticism and praise for his uncompromising stance towards Romany rent defaulters, is said to have met secretly with Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek to discuss under what conditions the Christian Democrats would enter into a coalition with the two strongest parties. Senator Cunek said his party might agree to participating in a pro-reform government with a year-long mandate.

School forced to remove surveillance cameras

A secondary school in Prague has been forced to remove surveillance cameras from classrooms after students protested against invasion of privacy. The Josef Skvorecky Literary Academy had cameras installed all over the premises allegedly for security reasons, to prevent bullying and vandalism. The move evoked a storm of protests from both students and parents who said that cameras in the classroom were an unacceptable invasion of privacy. The Office for Protection of Private Data and the Ombudsman backed the protests, especially when it emerged that the school intended to keep the recordings for a certain period of time.

Jacques case shelved

A state attorney has stopped the prosecution of a police officer who was accused of beating up Green Party deputy Katerina Jacques during an anti-Nazi May Day protest. Mrs. Jacques was arrested in a skirmish after ignoring a police order to keep at a distance from a skinhead march. Mrs. Jacques said she was attacked and beaten for no reason and the officer in question, Tomas Cermak, was sacked and charged with abuse of public office. State Attorney Michal Zachystal on Monday shelved the case saying there were insufficient grounds for prosecution and that Cermak had proceeded in line with police regulations when performing the arrest. Mrs. Jacques said she would appeal.

Czech Republic, Indonesia sign agreement on military co-operation

The Czech Republic and Indonesia on Tuesday signed an agreement to step up cooperation in the military sphere, in a move seen as an effort by Jakarta to diversify its sources of military assistance. The package signed opens the door to more business deals, an exchange of student officers, defense information and transfer of technology and data. The Czech Defence Ministry did not say how much Indonesia would spend on Czech military products, but disclosed that Jakarta aimed to buy several training jets from Prague.

Weather

The next few days should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures reaching 10 degrees Celsius.