The three-party governing coalition is in crisis, after the Christian
Democrats called on the Social Democrats to replace Stanislav Gross as
prime minister. Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek said at a
special news conference on Wednesday such a move would allow the coalition
Earlier Mr Gross said the government - which has a majority of just one - could continue without the Christian Democrats. However, it is hard to see where a minority government could find support.
Stanislav Gross is due to hold individual talks with Mr Kalousek and Freedom Union leader Pavel Nemec on Thursday.
Mr Gross has been under fire for weeks over allegations his luxury Prague flat cost more than he had officially earned. His wife's financial dealings have also been criticised; on Wednesday the prime minister said she would cease her business activities while he was in office.
Czech model Petra Nemcova, who was seriously injured in the Asian tsunami disaster in December, says she may quit modelling. The 25-year-old broke her pelvis and suffered internal injuries before surviving the disaster by clinging to a palm tree for eight hours. Her boyfriend, a British photographer, is still listed as missing. Ms Nemcova told the Czech daily Blesk she would like to return to Asia to do aid work.
Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, has suggested that early elections are the only possible solution to the crisis. He said that all parliamentary party leaders, with the exception of the Communists, should meet to debate this possibility. The regular term of the current coalition government, based on the slimmest possible majority of 101 votes in the 200-seat lower house, expires in mid-2006.
Deputy Interior Minister Jiri Vacek, the government's leading drugs expert, has announced his decision to resign in the wake of a scandal over his education. Vacek allegedly failed to complete his secondary school studies yet in recent years he claimed to have graduated from university and used the title "engineer". Vacek said he'd written a letter of resignation and it would be on his superior's desk on Wednesday morning. Vacek, the chief author of the of the Christian Democrats' uncompromising drugs policy, emigrated to Germany in 1968 and spent twenty years there. Although he claimed to have completed his studies in Germany, he failed to produce any documents that would prove this.
Responding to the news at the start of his official visit to France, Mr. Gross said he was not against a meeting of party leaders at which he would once again present his stand on the matter. He said he was unpleasantly surprised by the fact that the Christian Democrats had waited for him to leave the country before presenting their initiative and emphasized that they were free to walk out of the governing coalition if that was their choice.
President Vaclav Klaus has warned that the Czech Republic may not be
able to ratify the EU Constitution within the EU-set date, if the
Constitutional Court does not launch a serious debate on the
compatibility of the Czech and EU constitutions, according to the
president's spokesman Petr Hajek. The President recently wrote a
private letter to the head of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetsky
asking him for his views on the subject of compatibility of the two
constitutions and whether the Czech Constitution would have to be
amended before the EU Constitution could be ratified. The president's
spokesman said that Mr. Rychetsky's written answer had disappointed the
The latest Eurobarometer poll suggests that support for the EU Constitution among the public has grown in the past year with two thirds of Czechs now supporting it.
Professor Sadai Nazarov, who has political asylum in the Czech Republic, has been released from an Azeri jail but his return to the Czech Republic may be complicated, according to his son Elshan. He has been charged with six serious crimes which the Azeri penal code punishes with life imprisonment. Nazarov was arrested in January on a visit to his homeland. In the early 90s prof. Sadai Nazarov served as aide to the former Azeri prime minister Sarat Huseynov and fled to the Czech Republic in the mid 1990's after the regime of president Heydar Aliyev accused Huseynov of planning a coup. The Czech Foreign Ministry has called for "a humanitarian approach and a speedy resolution to the case", stressing that Nazarov is under the Czech Republic's protection.