President Klaus meets with PM Topolanek
President Vaclav Klaus on Friday met with Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to discuss the ongoing political crisis after his cabinet lost a vote of confidence in the lower house earlier this week. The president said that he would accept the prime minister's resignation next Wednesday and would ask the minority Civic Democrat government to remain in office until a new government can be appointed. Mr. Klaus indicated that he had a plan of action and said he would start negotiations with all parliamentary parties as soon as possible but he made it clear that he would not appoint a new prime minister designate before the end of October.
Christian Democrats pledge not to support government with Communist backing
All thirteen deputies of the Christian Democratic Party have pledged not to support a Social Democrat government which would lean on the Communists for support. The pledge was made in writing at the initiative of the party leadership after two deputies indicated that they would not be averse to discussing such a possibility. Czech Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek said on Thursday he could break the country's political deadlock within a fortnight if he was given the chance to form a government. Although he did not explicitly say so, such a government would have to rely on the Communist Party for support. The Christian Democratic Party leadership is now trying to dismiss speculation that some of its deputies might break ranks and enable such a government to rule. The Greens have said they would not support such a government under any circumstances.
Mlada Fronta daily claims Jews were target of terrorist plot
The daily Mlada Fronta Dnes claims that Jews were to have been the target of a planned terrorist attack in Prague. Quoting unidentified sources close to the country's intelligence services the daily reported that Islamic terrorists planned to kidnap dozens of Jews from a Prague synagogue and hold them hostage before murdering them. The paper does not say whether any arrests were made or specify the identity of the extremists. On September 23rd the Czech government tightened security measures around various sites in the Czech capital saying that the country faced the most serious threat of a terrorist attack ever, but gave no further details. Government officials have refused to comment on the Mlada Fronta Dnes report.
Czech Republic still pushing for original date of Schengen expansion
Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer, who sharply criticized a year long delay in the expansion of the Schengen border-free zone at a meeting of EU interior ministers on Thursday, has said the Czech Republic would continue to push for the original date to be kept. The delay is allegedly caused by technical difficulties in setting up a new police data base for the expanded region. Mr. Langer said the Czech Republic supports a Portuguese proposal to upgrade the existing police data-base for the time being while simultaneously working on the new one. He said this would be worthwhile despite the fact that it would incur additional costs, because the delay itself would be very costly for the newcomer states. For instance 600 border policemen would have to be kept at the border instead of being moved elsewhere. A final decision is to be made in December.
The next few days are expected to bring partly cloudy to overcast skies with rain showers and day temperatures between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius.