The leaders of the two biggest Czech parties have held their first
television debate since inconclusive elections two months ago. During
Sunday's debate Mirek Topolanek of the Civic Democrats (who came first in
June's elections) called on Jiri Paroubek of the Social Democrats (who
came second) to step down as prime minister. Mr Paroubek refused, saying
President Vaclav Klaus had already rejected one offer of resignation.
The Social Democrats chief said Mr Topolanek was anxious because the period the president had given him to try to form a government was almost up. He said only negotiations between himself, the president and Mr Topolanek could resolve the crisis.
The Civic Democrats chairman has tried to form an alliance with the Christian Democrats and the Greens, but this coalition is one vote short of a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan has praised the organisation of the
CzechTek free techno music festival, which this year is being held on
land rented from the Czech Army in north Bohemia. It is being attended
by around 40,000 people from the Czech Republic and elsewhere in
Last year Mr Bublan ordered around 1,000 riot police to break up the festival, following complaints from landowners. Critics described the intervention as heavy-handed though the minister said he had no choice but to uphold the law.
A Czech soldier has been found dead in Kosovo, where he was serving with the international KFOR mission. The body of the 34-year-old military policeman was discovered by a colleague at the Sajkovac military base on Sunday morning. The Czech Army immediately launched an investigation into the cause of his death.
Around 20,000 former members of agricultural co-operatives are still waiting to be paid for their shares, Czech Television reported on Saturday. They had been due to receive the money seven years ago and have called on the government to resolve the matter. Twenty are taking the issue to the European Court of Human Rights. There were around 1,200 agricultural co-operatives in the Czech Republic.
The Croatian prime minister, Ivo Sander, received an award in Prague on Friday from the Vasek and Anna Maria Polak Foundation. The award has been presented for services to democracy and the free market since 1994, and has previously been won by Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa. Vasek Polak had a bicycle repair shop in Prague before later building up an extremely successful car dealership business in the United States.
The leader of the Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, is now considering
trying to establish a minority government supported by the Social
Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Green Party, Mlada fronta Dnes
reported on Saturday. Mr Topolanek has been trying in vain to form a
government since elections two months ago.
The chairman of the Social Democrats, outgoing prime minister Jiri Paroubek, said the new plan was innovative but would not find support either in his party or the two smaller ones.
President Vaclav Klaus has given Mr Topolanek until the first week of August to form a government.