News of Radio Prague

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Spidla attempting to form minority government with Christian Democrats

The Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democrats, Vladimir Spidla, is attempting to form a two-party minority coalition government with the Christian Democrats, after a coalition of the two parties and the right of centre Freedom Union collapsed on Friday. Freedom Union MP Hana Marvanova brought about the crisis, when she voted against a government tax bill aimed at raising money to cover the costs of the recent floods. The bill was defeated by one vote. Mr Spidla said that the three-party coalition could only continue if Mrs Marvanova gave up her seat in the Chamber of Deputies, which she refused to do. On Saturday the prime minister said he would probably announce ministers to replace the three outgoing Freedom Union members of the cabinet on Monday.

The three party coalition had been formed after elections in June and had a majority of one in the lower house. The Christian Democrats have said they would prefer to reach an agreement with the Freedom Union, under which the latter party would support a minority Social Democrat-Christian Democrat government. Meanwhile, Communist Party deputy chairman Miloslav Ransdorf said his party would support such a government on condition that it placed an emphasis on social policy and economic growth.

Marvanova not planning to quit Freedom Union

Hana Marvanova has said she will remain a member of the Freedom Union and the party's parliamentary group, despite the fact that party figures had put pressure on her to give up her seat in order to save the three-party coalition. Mrs Marvanova announced on Saturday that she was stepping down as one of the lower house's deputy chairs.

Social Democrats announce referendum to choose candidate for president

The Social Democrats are planning to have a nation-wide referendum on who should be the party's candidate in next year's presidential election. Party leader Vladimir Spidla said on Saturday that the public would be able to choose from a list of candidates. It is believed that the unusual measure is being taken to prevent former prime minister Milos Zeman from becoming the party's candidate; Mr Zeman would be the likely winner of an internal party vote. The term of the current president, Vaclav Havel, ends at the beginning of February.

Croatian police arrest two Czechs in connection with killing of Czech diver

Police in Croatia have arrested two Czech men in connection with the death of a Czech diver. It had originally been believed that the diver, who was 31, had drowned but an investigation was launched after it emerged that he had a deep stab wound. The two suspects have been charged with killing the diver on a yacht and hiding his body in an underwater cave, near the town of Split.

Weather

Sunday should be cloudy in places with occasional showers or even storms. Temperatures should reach up to 16 degrees Celsius.