• 04/14/2005

    Meanwhile, the national committee of the second largest coalition party, the Christian Democrats, has approved the original agreement of the three parties and even nominated their candidates for the vacated ministerial posts. Party chairman Miroslav Kalousek has called on the Social Democrats to approve the original deal.

    Thursday's events mark another turn in a drawn-our crisis in the Czech government coalition which started two months ago after the Christian Democrats called on Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to step down over the controversy surrounding the financing of his Prague flat and his wife's business dealings.

    Stanislav Gross held the post of Czech prime minister for less than a year. He took over from Vladimir Spidla, who resigned last June after government parties - including his Social Democrats - were routed in the European Parliament elections. Mr Gross also replaced Mr Spidla as chairman of the Social Democrats. While known as a negotiator rather than a visionary, the European Union's youngest prime minister and former railway worker failed in weeks of talks to win enough backing from his political colleagues to continue amid a scandal over his family's finances.

  • 04/14/2005

    A new poll conducted by the CVVM agency suggests that around seventy-five percent of Czechs believe that politicians should resign over unclear property or financial situations even if it has not been proved that they broke the law. The respondents were much less critical of infidelity in marriage; only 25 percent of them considered it as a reason for resignation from a political post. Respondents were also very critical of unauthorised use of academic titles.

  • 04/14/2005

    Czech international goalkeeper Petr Cech is one of six players short listed for the English Professional Footballers' Association's prestigious player of the year award, after an extremely successful first season at Chelsea. The 22-year-old, who comes from the west Bohemian town of Plzen, has set a number of records in the Premier League. He was recently voted second best goalkeeper in the world.

  • 04/13/2005

    The three parties in the collapsed coalition are meeting once again to try to form a new government without Prime Minister Stanislav Gross. Mr Gross's Social Democrats have proposed forming a "pro-European" semi-technocrat government headed by career diplomat Jan Kohout; it would run the country until general elections in mid-2006.

    Meanwhile, the Christian Democrats say they want nothing less than a new coalition agreement. They recently left the government in protest at Mr Gross's presence as prime minister, after he became involved in a financial scandal.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 04/13/2005

    Earlier, the leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, called for the formation of a coalition of all parties except the Communists, which would lead the country to early elections in November. Under this proposal, such elections would be held at the same time as a referendum on the European Union Constitution. None of the parties concerned have welcomed the plan.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 04/12/2005

    The Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has bought a majority stake in Cesky Telecom. Under a contract signed in Prague on Tuesday, Telefonica will pay the Czech government 82.6 billion crowns for its 51.1 percent shares in the company. The government will use the revenue to finance social and environmental projects, cover the losses of the bail-out agency Ceska Konsolidacni Agentura and to implement the planned pension reform.

  • 04/11/2005

    A new poll has suggested that public dissatisfaction over the current political situation in the Czech Republic has continued to grow since February. According to the poll, conducted by the CVVM agency, some 62 percent of Czechs are not happy with developments, with only 31 percent supporting the government in February. The government fell apart over unexplained financing of the prime minister's flat, as well as business dealings by the prime minister's wife. Members of the three coalition parties are continuing to negotiate on a new pro-European cabinet that would serve out the final 14 months of its term.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 04/11/2005

    Representatives from the Czech automaker Skoda Auto have signed a licensing agreement in China for the production of the company's "flagship" Octavia model in that country in 2006. Skoda's parent company Volkswagen, already produces models in China. While the Skoda models have also been planned for the Chinese market, eventual export to neighbouring countries has not been ruled out. Full production will come underway by 2007 when Skoda Auto estimates it could produce at least 40, 000 cars in China.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 04/11/2005

    Tuesday has been confirmed for the sale of the government's 51.1 majority stake in the country's giant fixed-line operator Cesky Telecom to Spain's Telefonica. Telefonica and Czech government representatives, as well as Prime Minister Stanislav Gross himself, are expected to attend the signing of the deal, worth more than 3.5 billion U.S. dollars.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 04/11/2005

    A control test by the State Veterinary Administration has confirmed the Czech Republic's 18th case of BSE. A five-year-old cow in the region of Central Bohemia was found to be infected with the disease the third case this year. Some 260 animals will be put down. Since 2001, some 750, 000 cattle have been tested for the disease; despite the 18th positive case, the State Veterinary Administration has said it does not expect a significant increase in BSE infection in cattle in the Czech Republic.

    Author: Jan Velinger

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