President Klaus calls meeting with parliamentary party leaders
President Vaclav Klaus has called a meeting with the leaders of all parliamentary parties for next week but noted he would not intervene in government negotiations. Speaking to journalists during a visit to an exhibition in the town of Ceske Budejovice, Mr Klaus said the meeting with party leaders was called because the political turns of the last few days had taken him by surprise. But the Czech President also reiterated on Saturday 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.
Mr Klaus also said, with the current political situation, he cannot judge Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek for entering talks with the Social Democrats and seeking support from the Communists.
Klaus: Mirek Topolanek should put forward government proposal next week
Despite the sudden failed negotiations with the Social Democrats, Czech President Vaclav Klaus still expects Civic Democrat leader and prime minister designate Mirek Topolanek to present him with a government proposal by the end of next week. The two men met briefly in the Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary on Friday. Mr Topolanek is expected to propose to form a caretaker government that would lead the country into early elections, despite lacking support from the Social Democrats for such a government.
New government to determine how many troops will be sent to Lebanon
The Czech Republic is prepared to send troops to southern Lebanon as part of the Unifil UN peacekeeping force but will have to wait until a new government is formed to determine how many soldiers can be deployed, says deputy foreign minister Jaroslav Basta. Mr Basta was speaking at Friday's extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, which was also attended by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Until the country has a new government, Mr Basta says, it will only be involved in the Israel-Lebanon conflict through humanitarian aid and rebuilding projects.
The European Union has committed itself to provide up to 7,000 of the 15,000 troops that the UN hopes to deploy to southern Lebanon to maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
US Embassy refutes Paroubek claim that anti-missile base will not be stationed in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has not been taken off the list of possible countries to host an anti-missile base and radar system that the United States is hoping to station in Central Europe, the US Embassy in Prague said on Saturday. The statement was issued in reaction to claims made by outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek in Saturday's issue of Pravo newspaper that the United States is no longer considering the Czech Republic as a site for its base.
A team of US experts has already inspected potential sites on Czech territory, sparking off debate over the potential threat to the Czech citizens' security and whether or not Czechs should decide on hosting the base in a referendum. Several international press reports last week also suggested that Washington plans to approach London, following mounting opposition to the base's presence in Central Europe.
Explosion in apartment building leaves two dead and several injured
Two people have died and several are in hospital with injuries after an explosion in an apartment building in the Prague 4 district burnt down two flats. Police are still investigating the cause of the explosion.
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.