News

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Paroubek tells Klaus Social Democrats want to form new government

The leader of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, has told President Vaclav Klaus that his party is waiting for a chance to form a new cabinet, an option they see as viable. Speaking after meeting President Klaus at Prague Castle on Thursday, he said the Social Democrats were seeking a coalition partner, not early elections. Mr Paroubek said the President did not comment on the statement, nor did he indicate what his further steps would be. Under the Czech Constitution, President Klaus is now to appoint a new prime minister after a first attempt at forming a government failed last month.

President Klaus has said earlier that he wants to see a government that will lead the Czech Republic to early elections, while enjoying the confidence of the lower house. On Friday, all five parliamentary party leaders are scheduled to meet jointly with Mr. Klaus at Prague Castle.

Communists refuse covert grand coalition, support centre-left government

Communist leader Vojtech Filip, who also met President Klaus on Thursday, said that he informed the president that his party sees a government of national unity as a way out of the political stalemate. He reiterated that the Communists are prepared to vote for a constitutional amendment allowing for early elections but he stressed it does not mean they favour such a solution. Mr Filip said the Communist Party would back a centre-left government of the Social Democrats and the Greens or a part of the Christian Democratic Party. According to the head of the Communist parliamentary party, Pavel Kovacik, the Communists will not support any kind of covert grand coalition of the Civic, Social and Christian Democrats, suggested in previous days by the Christian Democratic Party.

Two smallest parties in lower house differ on future cabinet line-up

Both the Green Party and the Christian Democrats say they will back the constitutional amendment facilitating the dissolution of the lower house and early elections, but the two small parties differ as to the line-up of the cabinet which should lead the country to early elections. While the Greens would like to see a caretaker cabinet made up of unaffiliated experts, the Christian Democrats favour a cabinet representing all parties in the lower house with the exception of the Communists.

Czechs to open labour market for Bulgarians and Romanians

The Czech Republic has decided to open its labour market to Romanians and Bulgarians when the two states join the European Union in January 2007. The announcement was made by outgoing Labour Minister Petr Necas who said that the Czech labour market must remain open to the newest EU members if Czechs, Poles, and other central Europeans are to gain the right to work in the western European countries where restrictions remain in effect. When the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, only the UK, Ireland and Sweden opened their labour markets immediately.

Finance Minister to sue MEP Hybaskova over corruption accusation

The outgoing Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty has decided to take legal action against the head of the European Democrats, a small right-wing party, MEP Jana Hybaskova, for having accused him of corruption without producing sufficient evidence. He told reporters on Thursday he would demand 5 million crowns. Jana Hybaskova has already apologised to Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil. Just before the Senate and local elections Mrs. Hybaskova accused the Civic Democratic Party of having asked for a three-million-crown bribe in a certain transaction - money which was allegedly intended for two Civic Democratic Party ministers and a deputy for that party.

Czech Republic to re-open embassy to Afghanistan, close

The Czech Republic is likely to reopen its embassy to Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra said on Thursday. However, it is planning to close down its embassy to the Democratic Republic of Congo and a consulate general in Montreal, Canada. Czechoslovakia's embassy in Kabul was closed in 1992. In recent years, the Czech Republic closed its office in Cote d'Ivoire and opened embassies to the DPRK, Moldova and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In all, the country has 122 diplomatic missions around the world, 90 of them embassies.

First snow and frost catches drivers off guard, man freezes to death

The arrival of first snow in the Czech Republic as well as freezing temperatures overnight have caused traffic accidents mainly on the D1 motorway between Prague and Brno as many drivers were caught off-guard. A 60-year-old man froze to death outside his house near Brno after drinking alcohol - the second victim of the season, according to the police. In previous days, snow appeared only on the mountaintops in the Czech Republic while on Thursday, larger areas across the country were covered by a thin layer.

Tomas Berdych reaches quarterfinals at Paris Masters

Czech men's tennis star Tomas Berdych has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Masters tournament in Paris. Berdych, the eighth-seeded Czech, cruised past America's Robby Ginepri 6-3, 6-3 in just 65 minutes on Thursday afternoon. He is going to face either Britain's Andy Murray or Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia.

Weather

The first snow of the season fell overnight in North and South Moravia, as well as Central Bohemia and South Bohemia. Daytime temperatures are hovering around the 4 degree Celsius mark, with little change expected in the next few days.