News

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Record number of candidates to run for Senate

More than 200 candidates, a record number, have put themselves forward for election to the upper house of the Czech Parliament ahead of a vote scheduled for the end of October, authorities said on Friday. In all 204 candidates will compete for the 27 seats up for grabs, beating the previous record of 197 set in 2004. The Czech Republic elects its senators every two years, when a third of the 81 seats become available. Observers say the elections will be an important political indicator after the country's June general election left the lower house split evenly between right- and left-wing parties.

One of the candidates is Pavla Topolankova, the wife of the prime minister designate Mirek Topolanek, who is standing on a platform openly hostile to her husband's right-wing Civic Democratic Party.

Louis Vuitton party to move from Charles Bridge to Vltava embankment

Prague city hall has announced that it will move a commercial event originally due to take place on Prague's medieval Charles Bridge following an outcry against it. The French fashion company Louis Vuitton had signed a deal to rent the bridge on September 8 and 9 to host the last stage of a vintage car event. The proposed closure of the bridge, crossed every day by thousands of tourists and locals, created a storm of protest from politicians, monument preservationists as well as the public. A Prague city hall spokesman said on Friday that the Louis Vuitton event will be transferred to one of the embankments along the Vltava River.

New government to be appointed on Monday, vote of confidence to take place on October 4

President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday he would appoint the cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Monday afternoon. Civic Democrat chairman and Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek met President Klaus on Friday at Prague Castle, and presented to him a list of the members of his minority government. The new cabinet is to have 15 ministers, 9 of them members of the Civic Democratic Party and 6 unaffiliated, and prepare the country for early elections. The new cabinet is expected to ask the lower house for confidence on October 4th. It is unclear whether it will receive confidence owing to a perfect split between the rightist and leftist blocks in the chamber.

Mlada fronta Dnes: Filip's assistant was trained by KGB

Saturday's edition of the Mlada fronta Dnes daily writes that the chairman of the Communist Party and deputy chairman of the lower house employs as his assistant Frantisek Hanzalik who was trained by the KGB in the 1970s. Referring to secret documents from the Interior Ministry archives, the daily says Mr Hanzalik was to be planted as a spy in the West. According to the paper, in the 1980s he was the head of the communist secret police chapter in the town of Ceske Budejovice where Mr Filip himself was registered under the cover name of Falmer. Mr Hanzalik has declined to comment.

Police break-up techno party near Prague

Police say they have broken up an illegal techno party near the town of Slany in Central Bohemia. The party was attended by some 150 people. Following complaints by the locals about loud music and disturbing the peace at night, the police intervened in the early hours of Saturday and the organisers agreed to end the party.

Weather

The rest of the weekend should be partly cloudy with occasional showers and daytime temperatures reaching highs of 25 degrees Celsius.