News

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Topolanek admits possibility of caretaker government

The chairman of the Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, has admitted that a caretaker cabinet may be formed to govern the country until an early election. Mr Topolanek said on Wednesday he still hoped a government made up of party politicians was a viable option. The Civic Democrats received the largest share of the votes in the June parliamentary election and started coalition talks with the Christian Democrats and the Green Party. However, the emerging coalition has exactly half of the seats in the lower house and therefore would not receive a vote of confidence in the chamber.

Social Democrats reject centre-right coalition

The outgoing prime minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has said that his party has definitively rejected the centre-right coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens. The party has called on the Civic Democrats to seek another solution which would guarantee majority support in parliament. Besides, the Social Democrats still want their member to occupy the post of the lower house speaker. On Wednesday afternoon, the party proposed MP Lubomir Zaoralek as their candidate for the post. The centre-right coalition has decided not to field a candidate for Friday's election when the lower house will attempt for the third time to elect a new chairman, six weeks after the general election.

Should the lower house fail to elect a speaker in the near future, the Senate, the upper house of the Czech Parliament, will step in and call for early elections, its chairman warned on Tuesday. Speaking to journalists, Civic Democrat Premysl Sobotka said his party's senators proposed to hold a meeting next month at which the dissolution of the lower chamber will be discussed.

Outgoing PM: Government might offer resignation on Monday

The outgoing prime minister Jiri Paroubek has said his government will offer its resignation on Monday, July 24, provided the ongoing constituent session of the lower house is successfully completed. The government announced the intention to resign at the end of June, but President Vaclav Klaus then said that he did not intend to accept it until the newly-elected lower house started to function.

More Czechs leave Lebanon

More Czech nationals have left Lebanon amid Israel's continuing military operation against the country. The foreign ministry has said the group should arrive in Prague on Wednesday night. The ministry at the weekend called on Czech citizens in Lebanon to report to the Czech embassy in Beirut and leave the country. According to estimates, several dozen Czechs remain in Lebanon.

Government: Israeli position legitimate, civilians should be protected

The Czech government considers Israel's right to self-defence legitimate, but it also calls on Israel to limit the danger to civilians and infrastructure as much as possible, a government spokeswoman said after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The Czech Republic will support a rapid deployment of U.N. peace-keeping forces in the conflict area.

Poll: Czechs opposed to US missile site in Czech Republic

A poll carried out by the Median agency for the Mlada Fronta Dnes daily suggests 83 percent of Czechs are opposed to the existence of a US missile defence site in the Czech Republic. In reaction to the poll, the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, William Cabaniss, said the construction of such a base in the Czech Republic was a controversial topic for the country's citizens but public opinion was influenced by a lack of information.

On Tuesday, experts from the US Missile Defense Agency began a mission to the Czech Republic to discuss the possible creation of a strategic missile defence site. The delegation is due to stay in the Czech Republic until next Tuesday and will visit three possible sites to examine whether they are suitable. Two other Eastern European countries, Poland and Hungary, are also being considered as possible sites.

Weather

The sunny and hot weather is expected to continue in the next few days with daytime highs of 35 degrees Celsius.