Lower house fails to elect new leadership
The lower house has once again failed to elect a new leadership. The centre right coalition's joint candidate for the post of speaker, Jan Kasal of the Christian Democrats, received just 99 votes of 200 on Friday morning. In contrast to last week's vote in which not all members of the Civic Democratic, Christian Democratic and Green Party coalition voted for Miroslava Nemcova of the Civic Democrats, Friday's vote secured the support of all members of the coalition. Civic Democratic MP Milos Patera who is recovering from a stroke was not present. Mr. Kasal's name had been put forward on the understanding that he would hold the post for a temporary period until a political agreement has been reached on the new government.
Mirek Topolanek proposes additional MP
The chairman of the Civic Democratic Party, Mirek Topolanek, has reacted to Friday's vote in the lower house with a proposal to hold a supplementary election in the Czech Republic—one that would elect one additional MP to the Chamber of Deputies. Mr. Topolanek told reporters that the model was used to solve a similar post-election stalemate in Slovenia, where it proved successful. The extra MP would tip the balance that is currently set evenly at 100 seats for the leftist parties, and 100 for the center-right parties combined. Mr. Topolanek has suggested that the lower house have 201 MPs rather than the current 200, a change that would require a constitutional amendment.
Jiri Paroubek calls for caretaker government
Meanwhile, the leader of the Social Democrats, Jiri Proubek, has reacted to Friday's unsuccessful vote in the lower house by calling for a caretaker government. According to Mr. Paroubek, the Civic Democrats need to accept a compromise solution to the current government stalemate. Mr. Paroubek says that failure to elect Jan Kasal as the chair of the lower house is akin to last week's failed attempt to elect Miroslava Nemcova of the Civic Democrats to the post. Social Democratic MPs did not vote for either candidate.
Mr. Paroubek has also rejected the Civic Democrat's offer to have the leader of the lower house be a Social Democrat, in exchange for support for the three-party center-right coalition.
A poll conducted by the on-line server Novinky indicates that 60% of respondents are against the idea of a caretaker government.
All-Sokol meeting in Prague ends
The Sokol /or Falcon/ athletics body -a physical exercise organization founded in 1862 during the Czech national revival - has wrapped-up its all-Sokol meeting in Prague. Some 18 thousand gymnasts of all ages from all over the world took part in the week-long event, which culminated with mass gymnastics performances at Strahov stadium on Wednesday and Thursday. The Sokol athletics body is one of the oldest organizations in the world. Its modern era began with its revival after the fall of communism, but even during the dark period of Czech history ex-pats around the world kept its spirit alive. The all-Sokol meeting takes place once in six years.
New traffic law yields results
Statistics released by the Czech Interior Ministry show a marked decrease in traffic accident related deaths. Compared to last year when 11 people were killed on roads during the national holidays on July 5th and 6th, this year only one person died in an automobile accident during the holidays. Transport experts credit the change to the Czech Republic's new traffic law which came into effect on July 1st, and imposes strict punishments for traffic offences. A new point system which tabulates traffic offences can result in unsafe drivers losing their licenses.
Meteorologists are warning of intense summer storms throughout the weekend, with otherwise party cloudy skies and daytime temperatures hovering between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.