An opinion poll conducted by the STEM agency indicates that 38 percent of Czechs would not mind having the Communist party in government. The respondents who expressed this view said that since the Communist party had not been banned after the 1989 revolution it was necessary to accept its presence on the Czech political scene.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will make a one day visit to Prague on Friday at the invitation of Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek. The two leaders are expected to discuss domestic issues, EU matters ahead of the EU summit in Great Britain next month and bilateral relations. The German Chancellor and the Czech Prime Minister are said to be good friends and the Czech media have more than once described Mr. Schroeder as the Czech leader's role model.
Communist party deputy-chairman Vojtech Filip is suing the leader of the Christian Democrats Miroslav Kalousek for slander. Filip filed a lawsuit against the Christian Democrat leader after he called the Communist party "a criminal organization". Kalousek says he will not retract the statement and is prepared to ask Parliament to strip him of his immunity in order to allow court proceedings to go ahead. The Christian Democrat leader said he would be only too happy to have communist crimes finally discussed in court.
The Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek says he is prepared to meet with doctors to discuss their problems but he will not be pressured into dismissing the Health Minister Milada Emmerova. GPs, specialists and some dentists have announced that they will be going on a one day strike next Thursday in protest of the poor payment morale of some insurance companies. Doctors say the present system of financing is untenable since long delays in payments are threatening their livelihood. They blame the Health Minister Milada Emmerova for their present problems, saying she is incapable of implementing effective reforms.
Czech Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek was on board a plane that had to make an emergency landing this weekend. The Boeing plane was operated by Germany's Lufthansa airline. Mr Ambrozek, who was returning from an official visit to China, said on Tuesday, the plane was heading for Frankfurt but - an hour after take-off from Hong Kong - landed in Bangkok as the pilot detected a problem with one of the engines.
The opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats have decided not to call
a vote of no-confidence in parliament against the coalition government.
Instead, they plan to push for a parliamentary investigation into the
privatisation of Unipetrol, which was finalised earlier this year. The
government's 63 percent stake in the gas company was acquired by
Poland's PKN Orlen but evidence has surfaced, suggesting a number of
high ranking politicians from the ruling Social Democrats were bribed
in the privatisation deal.
A Polish Parliamentary commission, which has been looking into the case, released a report on Monday, stating that PKN Orlen paid some 180 million euros less for Unipetrol than an equally credible company was willing to pay. The Civic Democrats hope a Czech parliamentary commission will uncover why the less profitable offer was accepted.
The Prague High Court of Appeals has found the 74 year old man, who shot dead a Nigerian consul in Prague two years ago, guilty of attempted murder but lowered his sentence from eight to five years in prison. The pensioner lost his life savings in a Nigerian oil investment scam. Blaming the Nigerian authorities, he stormed into the embassy in Prague and shot the consul and injured a receptionist. He was given a lower sentence on account of his ill health.
The Supreme State Attorney, Marie Benesova, told Czech Radio on Tuesday
that the government will be holding a vote on whether to remove her from
office. According to Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek an ongoing bitter
dispute between Mrs Benesova and Interior Minister Pavel Nemec is
paralysing his administration. The interior minister called onto
government to remove Mrs Benesova from office earlier this year, after she
initiated a police investigation against his ministry.
Mrs Benesova heavily criticised a decision by Pavel Nemec to allow a member of the Qatari royal family, charged with the sexual abuse of underage girls, to be tried back home. The government is expected to discuss Mrs Benesova's dismissal this Thursday. She told Czech Radio that she has already been offered the post of deputy interior minister but has not accepted it.
South Korea's Hyundai is reportedly planning to build a car plant in the Czech Republic - an estimated investment of 1.9 billion US dollars. According to the internet server Patria, some 300,000 cars are to be manufactured at the plant annually. One of the cities Hyundai is considering is Moravia's Ostrava. Construction of the plant is to begin in May 2006.
Swiss voters at the weekend supported a referendum in favour of easing restrictions on workers from new European Union member states, including the Czech Republic. Complete free movement of labour should take effect in 2011. The approval in Switzerland, which is not an EU member, came amid growing discontent among nations like Germany and France about immigration from Central and Eastern Europe. Currently, only the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands have fully opened their labour markets to new EU members.