Social Democrat MP leaves party ranks
Deputy Michal Pohanka has unexpectedly left the ranks of the Social Democratic Party and has withdrawn from the Social Democrat deputies' group in the lower house. The group's chairman Michal Hasek says he was informed about Mr. Pohanka's decision in writing on Wednesday morning. There is no indication that Michal Pohanka is planning to resign as MP and there is now speculation as to whether the Social Democrats are losing one vote with his departure from the party. Every vote now plays a decisive role in the 200 seat lower house which is split down the middle with the right and left parties having 100 votes each. The Czech Republic has been without a stable government since elections in June.
In response to the news the Civic Democratic Party issued a statement on Wednesday saying that whatever Mr. Pohanka's reasons for leaving the party they did not intend to exploit the situation. "The Civic Democrats have no intention of forming a government which would have to rely on one turncoat" the party's deputy chairman Petr Necas told the media.
Interior Minister fears for his family's safety
Interior Minister Ivan Langer has sent his family abroad for fear of their safety after receiving anonymous threats which the police classified as "very serious". One of the anonymous letters said the interior minister's family home in Olomouc would be blown up. The minister himself is getting heightened protection until the case has been resolved. One of the theories is that the threats could be connected with a recent leak of information from police files, which the Social Democrats claim to have damaged their chances in the elections.
Lower house rejects referendum on US military base
The lower house on Wednesday rejected the Communist Party's proposal that a referendum should decide about the possibility of hosting a US missile base on Czech territory. The Communist Party said the bill would be re-drafted in line with the objections voiced and would be put to the lower house again at the earliest possible date. Although the United States has not yet made a decision on where it would like to station its planned missile base, the Czech Republic is still in the running. Unlike the Social Democrats and Communists, the governing Civic Democrats are not opposed to having a US missile base on Czech territory. On the other hand, public opinion polls indicate that the majority of Czechs are not happy about the idea.
Lower house speaker will forgo his right to pick third prime minister designate
President Vaclav Klaus on Wednesday met with the speaker of the lower house Miloslav Vlcek, in the last of a series of consultations on forming a new government. As speaker Miloslav Vlcek is legally entitled to pick the third prime minister designate, if two previous attempts to form a government should fail. However, in line with an earlier political agreement, Mr. Vlcek has agreed to forego this right. He reiterated this position following Wednesday's meeting with the president, saying he would resign in the wake of two unsuccessful attempts to form a cabinet. President Klaus is expected to name a new prime minister designate after the second round of Senate elections next weekend.
Road law not to be amended in near future
The Civic Democratic Party on Tuesday failed to push through a more lenient form of the road law. The proposed changes evoked heated debate in the lower house with proponents of the law arguing that the strict new norms had saved dozens of lives since July and any step back now would destroy all it had achieved. The Civic Democrats on the other hand believe that the new points system is too strict and opens the door to corruption. In the end there was general agreement that the law should remain in force for some time longer so that its effect could be properly assessed.
Cech allowed home ten days after fracturing skull
The Czech international football goalkeeper Petr Cech has been released from hospital, ten days after suffering a fractured skull when an opponent collided with him during a game. The 24-year-old is expected to begin light training with his club Chelsea next week. It will be three months at least before Cech can return to full training.
The next few days are expected to be partly cloudy with some scattered showers and afternoon highs reaching 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.