The lower house of the Czech Parliament has again failed to elect its
chairman. The only candidate, Christian Democrat MP Jan Kasal running for
the emerging centre-right coalition, did not receive enough support in the
chamber on Friday morning. He received 100 votes in the 200-member lower
house which is evenly split between the leftist and the centre-right
parties after the June national election.
The lower house will meet again next Friday. New candidates for the post of chairman are to be nominated by Wednesday. Before the lower house elects a chairman, the government of Prime Minister Paroubek cannot resign.
All three people charged with corruption in the case the Czech Consolidation Agency have been remanded in custody, a Prague court announced on Friday. The agency's executive board member Radka Kafkova was arrested on Tuesday night after she made a money exchange. She has been charged with large-scale corruption, along with a former employee of the agency, Josef Tykva and businessman Pavel Hrach. Police have seized 420 million Czech crowns from their bank accounts. One of the Consolidation Agency's main tasks is to bail state-owned companies out of problematic loans.
The family of a promising British chess player who plunged to her death from a hotel window in the Czech Republic paid tribute on Friday to the "exceptionally talented" teenager. Nineteen-year old Jessie Gilbert fell on Wednesday from the eighth floor of her hotel in the central city of Pardubice, where she had been competing in a chess tournament. Her family said fellow British players participating in the Czech Open tournament abandoned matches as a mark of respect. Police were continuing Friday to investigate Gilbert's death amid newspaper reports that the teenager from Surrey, southeast England, had been taking medication for depression.
The chairman of the Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, who was authorised in June by President Vaclav Klaus to lead the post-election coalition talks, has said that early elections may be the way out of the political deadlock in the country. Mr Topolanek said after Friday's failed election of the lower house chairman that he was going to report to President Klaus on the state of the coalition talks on Wednesday. The would-be coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Green Party has not been able to negotiate tolerance in the lower house with the second largest party, the Social Democrats.
Over 18,000 people from 18 countries of the world have arrived in Prague for a three-day open-air meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses. The meeting started on Friday afternoon at the Rosicky Stadium in Prague and will include a baptism ceremony on Saturday. A spokesman said there are around 15,000 followers in the Czech Republic. The religious association was registered in the Czech Republic in 1993.
The state attorney's office has started seizing the property of the people charged with corruption in the case of Czech Consolidation Agency. The agency's executive board member Radka Kafkova was arrested on Tuesday night after she made a money exchange, Czech Television reported on Wednesday. She has been charged with large-scale corruption, along with a former employee of the agency, Josef Tykva and businessman Pavel Hrach. Police have been investigating the case, which involves tens of millions of crowns, for three years. One of the Consolidation Agency's main tasks is to bail state-owned companies out of problematic loans.
The Czech Statistical Office has announced that the number of the Czech Republic's citizens has grown for the fourth year in a row, but mainly due to immigration. In a report released on Thursday, the office says that while last year saw the highest number of births, the figure still remains lower than the country's mortality. Statisticians have warned the ageing of the Czech population will continue, as the Czech Republic has one of the lowest fertility rates in Europe.
The Czech footballer Pavel Nedved is staying at the Italian club Juventus, who were stripped of their last two Italian league titles and relegated to the second division after being caught match fixing. Several of the club's other stars have left, but Nedved's agent said on Wednesday that his client was not planning to join the exodus. The 33-year-old former Czech captain has not yet said whether he will continue to play for the national team.
The lower house of the Czech Parliament will make another attempt at electing its chairman of Friday. The two candidates for the post are Social Democrat MP Lubomir Zaoralek and Christian Democrat MP Jan Kasal who is running for the emerging centre-right coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Green Party. However, neither candidate has sufficient support in the chamber after the June parliamentary election resulted in a perfect split between the leftist and the centre-right parties in the lower house.
Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan has confirmed that the head of the traffic police in the town of Frydek-Mistek, Michael Cas, had been drinking before he caused a traffic accident in Ostrava on Saturday night. Mr Cas who failed a breathalyser test after the accident, says another person was driving the car, though he refuses to say who. The incident happened only three weeks after new traffic regulations came into effect. Mr Cas had previously praised the positive reaction of Czech drivers to the new traffic law and also wrote a university dissertation on ethical driving.
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