President and PM to meet on Wednesday
President Klaus is to meet with Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Wednesday to discuss an emerging agreement on a new government. There was a breakthrough in talks on Monday when the leaders of the two strongest parties on the Czech political scene each made concessions in order to facilitate an agreement. Mirek Topolanek, leader of the centre right Civic Democrats, dropped his demand for early elections in 2007, while Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek no longer insists on a two party agreement and is willing to discuss a government of four parties in which he himself would have no part.
Government talks to start after Civic Democratic Party conference
The Civic Democrat Party leadership has said serious talks on a new government will have to wait until after the party's national conference this weekend. Although Mirek Topolanek has strong backing within the party, and is likely to be re-elected leader, there are conflicting opinions on the length of the future government's mandate and the timing of the next general elections. Party leader Topolanek said on Tuesday that he was not ruling out elections in 2009, but only on condition that the government would have a reform program.
Four nominees for Ombudsman
Four candidates have been nominated for the post of Ombudsman to replace Otakar Motejl whose term in office expires in December. Mr. Motejl is up for re-appointment for another six year term. The other nominees are the former rector of the Czech Technical University in Prague Jiri Witzany, human rights activist John Bok and senator Jitka Seitlova. The Ombudsman is elected by the lower house from candidates put forward by the president and the Senate.
Seven EU newcomers press for original date of Schengen expansion
Seven EU newcomers have urged the European Commission not to postpone their entry to the Schengen border-free zone. The Visegrad Four - of which the Czech Republic is a member - and the three Baltic states called on the European Commission to honor the original agreement and extend the Schengen area by October 2007. The European Commission said recently that a postponement by up to a year seemed inevitable because of technical problems involving the setting up of a new police database. The seven newcomers said they were ready to assume all obligations which stem from being a part of the Schengen area and have urged the European Commission to consider a compromise proposal submitted by Portugal which would enable enlargement to take place as planned.
Loss at Czech airline CSA narrows in first nine months
Czech airline CSA said Tuesday its after-tax loss narrowed to 324 million crowns (14.81 million dollars) in the first nine months of the year from 773 million in the same period of 2005. The airline, around 91 percent owned by the state, said it expected to post a full-year loss of around 500 million crowns, the same as 2005. CSA's president, Radomir Lasak, said the airline was battling higher wage costs and payments for new aircraft.The airline is hoping to return to profit in 2008 following a sweeping restructuring decided by its current management, which has been in place since the start of the year.
The next few days are expected to be exceptionally warm with day temperatures reaching 16 degrees Celsius.