Civic Democrat government loses confidence vote in parliament
The minority Civic Democrat government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has not survived a vote of confidence in the lower house. In the 200 member lower house ninety-nine deputies voted against the government, ninety-six voted in favor and five were not present. Prime Minister Topolanek said his cabinet would most likely resign in one week from now at its session on Wednesday October 11th. He said his party would continue to push for early elections.
President to pick new prime minister designate
In line with Czech law it will now be up to the president to appoint a new prime minister designate who will be entrusted with the task of forming a new cabinet. The country's inconclusive June general elections produced an even division of forces between the right and left parties in the lower house which resulted in a drawn-out political crisis. It would appear that neither of the two strongest parties on the Czech political scene - the Civic or Social Democrats - are in a position to form a new government with the smaller parties in Parliament. Political analysts have not yet entirely ruled out a grand coalition or a caretaker-type government made up of experts. The president is free to pick whoever appears to have the biggest chance of forming a new cabinet.
Czech Republic fined for exceeding EU milk quota
The Czech Republic will have to pay the EU a 150 million crown fine ( 5,13 million euros) for exceeding the annual milk quota set by the EC. A spokesman for the European Commission said Czech dairy farmers had exceeded the limit by 17,000 tons. Eight other EU countries will have to pay similar penalties - altogether to the tune of 377 million euros.
Civic Democrats streamline Office of the government
During its short term in office, the Civic Democrat government abolished one ministry, two government councils and merged other institutions in order to economize. The IT Ministry was abolished at the outset and its agenda was taken over by the Interior Ministry. The head of the Office of the government Jan Novak recently abolished the Council for Human Resources and is currently transferring tasks to individual ministries. Not all cost-cutting measures have been well received. Svatopluk Karasek who was recently dismissed as the government's Human Rights Commissioner said the reduction of staff in his office was tantamount to a closure. The office currently has 500 employees.
Czechs fear what Islam may bring
The results of a poll conducted by the STEM polling agency suggest that three out of four Czechs have a negative attitude towards Islam. The poll published in Tuesday's edition of Hospodarske Noviny indicates that more than half of all Czechs fear possible terrorist attacks by Islamic terrorists and are afraid of a potential conflict between Western and Muslim civilizations. At the same time, the poll shows that Czechs have scant knowledge about the Islamic faith itself.
The next few days are expected to bring scattered showers and a drop in day temperatures to around 15 degrees Celsius.