Topolanek: three kinds of governments could lead the country into early elections

Civic Democrat leader and prime minister designate Mirek Topolanek is planning to propose one of three types of governments to President Vaclav Klaus next week. The first is a political government with ministers from all parliamentary parties except the Communists. The second is a minority Civic Democrat government that will also include independent experts. The third government that Mr Topolanek is considering is a caretaker government.

Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday, Mr Topolanek said one of the three cabinets would lead the country to early elections, preferably to be held around April or June next year. The type of government that he will propose next Friday will depend on the results of negotiations that will take place in the next few days.

President's secretary: Mr Klaus never called meeting with parliamentary party leaders

The President's secretary, Ladislav Jakl, has said that claims that President Vaclav Klaus has called a meeting with the leaders of all parliamentary parties for next week are false. On Saturday, media reports said that Mr Klaus - taken aback by the recent political turns - called the meeting but stressed he would not intervene in government negotiations. In a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Jakl said the president never made any such plans. In the same debate, Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek also said he knew nothing of such a meeting.

On Saturday, Mr Klaus said the political developments of the last few days had taken him by surprise but also reiterated that politicians should not be held responsible for the political deadlock that the country has been battling since the elections in early June. Their attempts at forming a majority government are hindered by the fact that the number of seats in the lower house of Parliament is evenly divided between the left parties and the centre and right parties, Mr Klaus stressed.

STEM poll: Social Democrats held more responsible for failed post-election talks

An opinion poll commissioned by Czech Television suggests that most Czechs would blame the Social Democrats for failed post-election talks with the Civic Democrats. Some 48 percent of those polled by the STEM agency blamed the Social Democrats, who came second in the June elections; 43 percent on the other hand said that the Civic Democrats, who won the elections, were responsible. While it was mainly the elderly and people with a lower education who supported the Social Democrats, younger respondents with a higher education and people with successful jobs supported the Civic Democrats. 51 percent of those polled also said that the Civic Democrats should go into opposition following failed post-election negotiations.

Berdych gang members arrested in Ireland

Police say two members of the so-called Berdych gang were arrested in Ireland on Friday night. The gang, named after their leader David Berdych, is allegedly responsible for kidnapping, robbing and in several cases killing wealthy businessmen. Several high-ranking policemen were also involved. The fugitive Tomas Puta and Maros Sulej are wanted by the Czech police for assault and robbery; Mr Puta - a former Slovak police officer - is also suspected to have murdered an antiquarian whose body is still missing. The men fled the Czech Republic in 2002 and 2003. They are now in police custody in Ireland.

Police break-up techno party near Prague

The Czech police had to forcefully break up an illegal techno party on Sunday that had been going since Friday, Nova TV reported. The party was attended by some 200 people and was staged in a forest area near Prague. The police had to use force for the party-goers to leave the grounds after repeated requests from the police and land owner had failed. No-one was injured during the operation.

Weather forecast

The next few days will remain cloudy with occasional rain and day temperatures between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius. It is expected to get warmer towards the end of next week; day temperatures will have reached the mid-twenties by Friday.