News of Radio Prague

Voting begins in elections to lower house

The Czech Republic's eight million voters have begun casting their ballots in elections to the Czech lower house. The polls opened at two o'clock on Friday afternoon, and will close at ten on Friday night, before opening again on Saturday at eight am and closing at two in the afternoon, when vote-counting will begin. No party is expected to win a majority and either the governing Social Democrats or the Civic Democratic Party are expected to get the most seats in the 200-seat lower house.

Among the first to cast their ballots were President Vaclav Havel and the outgoing prime minister, Milos Zeman, as well as the leaders of several of the biggest parties.

Czechs living abroad being allowed to vote for first time

Meanwhile, voting has also been taking place at Czech embassies and consulates around the world. It is the first time Czechs living abroad have been allowed to vote in elections in the Czech Republic. However, the number of Czechs who registered to vote was much lower than had been anticipated. Of the estimated 70,000 who were eligible, only around 2,000 registered.

Skinheads get off with suspended sentences

Eighteen far-right skinheads have received suspended sentences from a court in the south Bohemian city of Ceske Budejovice. The skinheads attacked a group of Romanies who were having a party at a hotel in the city. Some of the victims of the attack have filed a civil suit against the skinheads.

Temelin back in operation after Thursday shutdown

The first reactor at the Temelin nuclear power station in south Bohemia went back into operation on Thursday night despite statements by officials at the plant earlier on Thursday that it would be shut down for a week to deal with a suspected leak. The power station is once again supplying electricity to the national grid. Temelin has suffered from repeated faults since the launch of the plant began in October 2000, and critics say it is unsafe.

Bailiff accused of embezzlement

A bailiff at the District Court in the west Bohemian town of Karlovy Vary has been charged with embezzlement. The bailiff allegedly kept half a million Czech crowns which some 33 debtors had paid on the orders of the court. The case is being investigated by the police's anti-corruption squad.

Weekend weather

Saturday should be another largely clear day with temperatures of up to 31 degrees Celsius. Sunday should be partially cloudy and up to 26 degrees Celsius.