News

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Topolanek seeks strong Civic Democrat mandate for four-party cabinet

The right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party has seen the first day of its two day party congress in the Czech capital. Prime Minister designate Mirek Toplanek - the party's chairman - is looking for a strong mandate from his party towards putting together an interim coalition government, one that would include the four non-communist parties including the Christian and Social Democrats and the Greens. Mr Topolanek stated on Saturday that if the idea did not get strong backing, he would again propose the current outgoing cabinet to the president, despite the fact it failed in an earlier confidence vote.

Politicians including Mr Topolanek - now twice prime minister designate - have been trying to form a viable government since elections ended in stalemate in June.

Klaus indirectly calls on party to find compromise solution

In related news, the Civic Democratic Party's honorary chairman, President Vaclav Klaus, has indirectly expressed support for a compromise solution to the stalemate, suggesting on Saturday that it was time the Civic Democratic Party - which dominated elections in 2006 - translated election results into a functioning government.

Party chairman Mirek Topolanek may still face additional criticism from some at the weekend: a number of Civic Democrat delegates are upset that he dropped an earlier demand for early elections in 2007 and opted for a compromise solution including the Social Democrats. It could impact the type of mandate on forming a new government the prime minister will get.

Kasal: Christian Democrats will not allow any Social Democrat and Communist Party gov to emerge

The acting chairman of the Christian Democratic Party, Jan Kasal, has reiterated that his party will not support or tolerate any Social Democrat government leaning on support from the Communists. On Saturday, speaking as a guest at the Civic Democrats' party congress, Mr Kasal said the possibility of such a government was "a real danger". Politicians are now in a 2nd round of talks on forming a new government, but if the new cabinet does not find support in a confidence vote, it would likely mean that the Social Democrats, who came in second in the national election, would get the third and final chance. As it stands, the lower house is equally divided along right and left of the political spectrum, but the Social Democrats' Jiri Paroubek has in the past suggested that in the case of a confidence vote for "his" government he would find the necessary support.

Neumannova earns dominant victory in Sweden

Cross-country skier Katerina Neumannova has crushed a field of world-class racers in the ten-kilometre freestyle on the World Cup circuit in Gaellivare, Sweden. Neumannova, a gold medallist from this year's winter Olympics, finished far ahead of Estonia's Kristina Smigun, 24.19 seconds behind. The 10 km freestyle is said to be Neummanova's favourite race.

Italy beat Czech Rep at volleyball world cup

The Czech Republic has suffered defeat at the hands of Italy in the group stage of the volleyball world cup underway in Nagano, Japan. The Italian squad won in three straight sets. The Czechs have now lost once but also have one win. They will face the USA next on Sunday.

Weather

Mostly cloudy conditions will continue into the weekend, with daytime highs reaching around 12 degrees Celsius.