Civic Democrats start new round of government discussions

The Civic Democrats have started a new round of discussions regarding the formation of a government. The Civic Democrats, who won the largest number of seats in the lower house in the June elections but do not have a majority, expect to be given a second chance to try and form a government. A first attempt by the Civic Democrats failed in early October, with the loss of a vote of confidence in the lower house. President Vaclav Klaus is now expected to give the Civic Democrats another opportunity to find a solution to the current government stalemate - this on the basis of the Civic Democrats' strong showing in the recent Senate elections.

The Civic Democrats are planning to hold discussions with all the parties in the lower house. On Monday morning, Civic Democratic chairman and acting Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek began talks with the Green Party, centering on ways to dissolve the lower house and call early elections. Mr. Topolanek has said that his aim is to bring the country to early elections. The Social Democratic Party chairman Jiri Paroubek remains opposed to the idea of early elections in the Czech Republic.

Jiri Paroubek says grand coalition not in cards

The chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Jiri Paroubek, made a brief public appearance Monday afternoon, following a meeting with Civic Democratic Party leader, Mirek Topolanek. Mr. Paroubek told the press that a grand coalition between his Social Democrats and the right-of-center Civic Democrats is no longer a realistic way out of the political stalemate. Until now, Mr. Paroubek has suggested a grand coalition between the country's two largest political parties as a viable alternative to early elections. The Civic Democrats have dismissed this option consistently since the June elections ended in a deadlock.

Communists may support caretaker government even without Social Democrats

Vojtech Filip, the chairman of the Communist Party, says that his party could agree to early elections and support a caretaker government even if the Social Democratic Party would not be involved in such an arrangement. Mr. Filip made the remarks in an interview for Monday's edition of the daily Lidove Noviny. Since the June elections, the Communist Party has been pushing for a government of national unity with a limited mandate. The initial condition of the Communists' was that such a government have the support of all parties in the lower house, but now Mr. Filip says that an agreement on a temporary government could be made even without the Social Democrats. Mr. Filip said that so long as the Civic Democrats nominate an independent expert as prime minister, the Communist Party has no reason not to support the proposal.

President Vaclav Klaus scores 74% in popularity survey

The results of a new survey conducted by the CVVM agency show that 74 percent of people trust President Vaclav Klaus, while only 28 percent of those polled expressed trust in the government of acting Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. The CVVM poll also indicates that people are dissatisfied with the current political situation of the Czech Republic—only 17 percent of respondents said that they are satisfied with the political scene since the June elections. As a result, the lower and upper houses of parliament registered their lowest ratings in the past year. CVVM conducted the survey during the first week of October, before the Senate elections.

Haruki Murakami receives Franz Kafka Award

The Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami (57), has received the Franz Kafka Award at a ceremony at Old Town Hall. Mr. Murakami, who was among this year's contenders for the Nobel Prize in Literature, travels very rarely but told reporters that he chose to come to Prague because he holds Franz Kafka in high esteem, and considers it a great honor to receive an international literary award named for the author who called Prague home. Haruki Murakami has read many of Franz Kafka's works and considers him a personal favorite. It is Mr. Murakami's first visit to the Czech capital.

Prague opens new judicial complex

A new judicial complex has opened in Prague 10. The country's newest and largest complex of judicial buildings was inaugurated on Monday morning, after the completion of renovation work to three historic buildings at Na Micankach. The construction cost the Ministry of Justice more than 2.5 billion crowns (over $112 million US), and the buildings will be home to more than 40 percent of Prague's judicial branches. The complex houses 98 courtrooms, 38 interview rooms, 30 holding cells, and is connected by underground hallways. Ombudsman and former justice minister Otakar Motejl was on hand to open the complex.

Czech woman dies in diving accident near Pag, Croatia

A 48 year-old Czech woman died in Croatia over the weekend. On Monday the Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed that the woman died as a result of a diving accident near the island of Pag. Reports say that the woman was with a group of divers and after reaching a depth of 20 meters, she rose to the surface too quickly, causing stress on the lungs. The tragedy is being investigated by Croatian police.

11 people killed on Czech roads over weekend

This past weekend was another tragic one on Czech roads. Eleven people died in traffic accidents during the last weekend of October, eight on Saturday, and three on Sunday. Another 37 people suffered serious injuries as a result of automobile accidents. The high death total continues a string of deadly weekends on Czech roads; over the past several months approximately every second weekend has registered a high number of fatal automobile accidents.


The next few days will bring cloudy skies and scattered showers, with daytime temperatures between 14 to 17 degrees Celsius.