One of the country's opposition parties in Parliament, the Communist Party, has already made clear that it will not back the new government, though it may support some legislation. Vice chairman Jiri Dolejs said on Thursday the Communists would be willing to back laws close to their own agenda. Though specific bills were not named, he and others indicated they might willingly back bills related to the social and economic spheres.
The opposition Civic Democrats have proposed that the Lower House of
Parliament should have the option of voting to dissolve itself in times
of government crisis. The Civic Democrats have said they will soon
present a constitutional amendment in the Senate to this effect. In
their view, a vote on dissolving the Chamber would first be preceded by
the resignation of the government and a presidential proposal. A
majority of deputies would have to vote in favour of the measure for it
The Civic Democrats' proposal comes after the government resolved months of political haggling and crisis. In the Civic Democrats' view dissolving the Lower House would bring a swifter resolution to such crises, allowing the president to swiftly call new elections.
Some of the names more or less confirmed to stay on in their current posts in the new government include Health Minister Milada Emmerova, Education Minister Petra Buzkova and the Vice-premier for Economic Affairs Martin Jahn. Of the three only Mr Jahn is not affiliated with the ruling Social Democratic Party. Some Social Democrats reportedly objected to Mr Jahn's place in the new government on the grounds his policies were too removed from the Social Democrats'. Provided the Social Democratic Party's Central Committee now approves the new coalition agreement (Saturday) the new government could be named by the president on Monday.
The right-of-centre Civic Democrats in the European Parliament have
demanded an apology from the vice-president of the European Parliament,
Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, as well as another EP member for comments
made on Wednesday. The EP vice-president, along with the chairman of
the constitutional committee, Jo Leinen, criticised Mr Klaus for his EU
stance, saying statements the Czech president had recently made about
the European Union were 'prejudiced' and 'untrue'. Mr Klaus reacted on
Thursday by saying he found both men's offensive. He has sent a letter
to the chairman of the European Parliament, Joseph Borell, asking him
to take a stance.
The opposition Civic Democrat MPs in the European Parliament have also reacted by calling the criticism "scandalous".
The politician chosen to replace Stanislav Gross as Czech prime minister,
Jiri Paroubek, says the composition of his cabinet should be clear by
Thursday at the latest. Mr Paroubek, a deputy chairman of the Social
Democrats and currently minister for regional development, says he does
not expect many ministerial changes. Representatives of his party, the
Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union met on Wednesday to discuss
their continued co-operation in government.
The coalition formed by the three parties after elections in 2002 broke down recently, after Mr Gross and his wife became embroiled in a scandal concerning their personal finances. The prime minister is expected to resign formally after a meeting of senior Social Democrats on Saturday
President Vaclav Klaus said on Wednesday he would not react to the latest developments until Mr Gross showed him a signed coalition agreement and tendered his resignation.
Meanwhile, Mr Klaus's party the Civic Democrats have denied reports that their opposition to the European Constitution has led to a drop in support for the party. Tuesday's edition of Lidove noviny reported that a study commissioned by the Civic Democrats found that three to five percent of potential supporters had been put off by their policy on the constitution. Senior party figures said, however, that no such study existed.
The Czech publisher of the Harry Potter children's books says 10,000 fake copies of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire have been sold in the Czech Republic, the daily Pravo reported on Wednesday. Official publishers Albatros accuse the company Ottovo of being behind the fakes; a police source said the latter had invoiced bookshops for a non-existent book called Goblet of Fire. Over 800,000 Harry Potter books have been sold in the Czech Republic.
The vice-president of the European Parliament, Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, has strongly criticised President Klaus's opposition to the European Constitution. The Spanish politician said Mr Klaus's arguments were prejudiced, misleading and untrue. He said Mr Klaus was the only head of state in Europe against the constitution, and it would be a pity if his euro-skepticism led the Czech Republic to isolation.
The Czech Roman Catholic church has called for churches around the country to fly the Vatican flag between Wednesday and Sunday in honour of the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI. However, due to a shortage of yellow and white Vatican flags, Czech church leaders have asked their colleagues in Slovakia to send some as soon as possible.