Lower house fails to elect new speaker
The only candidate for the post of speaker of the lower house of parliament, Miroslava Nemcova, has not been elected in the second round of secret balloting. Just like in the first round, she was three votes short of gaining a majority of votes. Mrs Nemcova was proposed for the post by the Civic Democratic Party. It appears that at least one MP from one of the party's two coalition partners, the Christian Democrats or the Greens, voted against Mrs Nemcova's election.
Deputies, who have a maximum of ten days to hold a third round of voting, will reportedly not cast their votes before next week Friday.
War of words in lower house delays vote on new leadership
The election of a new lower house speaker, which was scheduled to take place shortly before noon on Thursday, was delayed as deputies waged a war of words for almost two hours. The debate was triggered by outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek who criticised terms of a new coalition agreement between the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats, and the Greens. Mr Paroubek opposed the coalition's plans to introduce flat tax and also rejected their health reform and foreign policy plans.
The Civic Democrats' candidate for the post of lower house speaker, Miroslava Nemcova, was also under attack. To Mr Paroubek, Mrs Nemcova is a fanatic. Social Democrat Health Minister David Rath pointed out that Mrs Nemcova has in the past permitted her family the unauthorised use of her official car: "Whoever leads the lower house needs to be on top of things and broad-minded and not someone who steals rolls in a grocery store," he said.
Jiri Paroubek supports Slovakia's emerging new government
Outgoing Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek supports the decision of Slovakia's Robert Fico to enter into a coalition government with two fringe parties. Mr Fico, whose left Smer party won a June 17 election, invited the centre-left party of former authoritarian Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and the far-right Slovak National Party of Jan Slota for talks on creating a government on Wednesday. Mr Paroubek said that although he understood Mr Fico he himself would have acted differently. The chairman of the Czech Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, on the other hand has said he will not comment until the new government takes office.
Czech kids among biggest drinkers compared to peers in other countries
The Czech Republic is among the countries where children start consuming alcohol at a dangerously young age, experts agreed at a Prague conference on Thursday. Every tenth 11-year old and over forty percent of 14-year olds have been drunk at least once, statistics say. The amounts consumed by boys versus girls are also gradually evening out, says alcohol dependency expert Michal Miovsky.
EC: Czech Republic violating free movement of goods
The Czech Republic is among a group of countries that, the European Commission says, make it difficult to import used cars from other EU states. This is despite the fact that new regulations come into effect on Saturday that are to liberalise the import of older cars. The EC accuses the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Austria and Luxembourg of violating the free movement of goods by introducing tougher conditions for used cars from abroad than for local cars that are just as old.
The next few days should bring a slight drop in day temperatures which are expected to average at around 26 degrees Celsius. Expect partly cloudy skies and some scattered showers.