The new cabinet met for the first time on Monday afternoon to outline
priorities. Earlier, a number of incoming ministers discussed future
plans. The new Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Petr Necas has
said work on pension reform should begin and that changes should be
implemented within the welfare system in order to motivate individuals
to actively seek employment. New Minister for Regional Development Petr
Gandalovic is planning to change the system of drawing money from EU
funds. Mr Gandalovic says the Czech Republic needs to speed up the
drawing for the years 2004-2006 or risk having to return money to
On Monday, Prime Minister Topolanek confirmed that his government would ask for a vote of confidence on October 4th. Thus far he has shrugged off speculation over the government's chances.
On his final day before stepping down as prime minister, Jiri Paroubek met with US Ambassador William Cabanniss to give his view on the possibility of a US missile defence base being built in the Czech Republic. Mr Paroubek reportedly told the ambassador the Social Democratic party was against the idea. But, the base has approval from the country's new Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra, as it did from his predecessor Christian Democrat Cyril Svoboda, who said that the US's interest in the Czech Republic proved that the country was a "trustworthy" ally. Mr Svoboda outlined as benefits not only the fact that the Czech Republic would benefit financially but that it itself would be protected in the anti-missile zone. The US reportedly would like to place radars and ten missiles in Europe by 2011, to intercept possible enemy missiles launched - for example - by North Korea or Iran.
Health union representatives have stated publicly that they are six billion crowns short (roughly 274 million US dollars) in the state budget to be able to introduce a new system of social care that takes effect on January 1st. The chairman of the Health and Social Care Workers' Union stated on Monday if the necessary funds are not allotted there will be a danger the quality of health care in some institutions could worsen, or that some could lack funds for operation altogether. According to the new legislation on social services, patients will be able to directly receive money for services and decide on their own which services to pay for, as well as to choose whether they will be cared for by family, an assistant, or an institution.
Prime Minster designate and Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek has said his government's programme is to be based on the outcomes of previous negotiations of his party with the Christian Democrats and the Green Party and also with the Social Democrats. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Topolanek said the new cabinet's programme copied that of the so-called three-party-coalition, that is a coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens who tried to put together a cabinet after the June election but failed as the Social Democrats refused to tolerate such a government. Mr Topolanek's cabinet will be appointed on Monday. In order to receive confidence in the lower house, Mr Topolanek will need to gain the support of at least one opposition MP in the vote that is scheduled for October 4th.
Civic Democrat deputy chairman Petr Necas has said that if the new cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek fails to receive confidence from the lower house, a fresh attempt at forming a new cabinet should take place after the Senate and municipal elections which will be held in late October. Mr Necas said that an attempt to put together a new cabinet before the elections would be too risky for his party.
The Czech Republic beat Wales 2:1 in a Euro 2008 Group D qualifying match on Saturday. Substitute David Lafata scored twice on his international debut. The Czechs went 1:0 up when the 24-year-old Lafata headed in Libor Sionko's pass from close range in the 76th minute, little more than a minute after he came on. In the 85th, Czech defender Martin Jiranek knocked a cross into his own net from close range for the Welsh equaliser but Lafata scored his second four minutes later, also from close range after a pass from Sionko. The Czechs play away against Slovakia on Wednesday, while Wales are at home to the Slovaks on October 7.
Mr Topolanek also said Social Democrat leader and outgoing prime minister Jiri Paroubek has no chance to successfully form a cabinet after his talks with the Christian Democrats about a Communist-backed cabinet collapsed two weeks ago. Mr Topolanek said that Mr Paroubek had lost his chance to form a new cabinet by negotiating a Communist-supported government with former Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek, a step which resulted last week in Mr Kalousek's resignation from the post of Christian Democrat chairman.
Future members of the minority cabinet of the Civic Democratic Party have articulated their concrete ideas of what to do after they are appointed. For example, future labour minister Petr Necas said work on the pension reform must be started and changes should be implemented in the welfare system that would motivate people to actively seek employment. Future local development minister Petr Gandalovic is planning to change the system of drawing money from EU funds. Mr Gandalovic says the Czech Republic needs to speed up the drawing for the years 2004-2006 as there is a big delay in some financial programmes and the country might have to return the money to Brussels.
More than 200 candidates, a record number, have put themselves forward for
election to the upper house of the Czech Parliament ahead of a vote
scheduled for the end of October, authorities said on Friday. In all 204
candidates will compete for the 27 seats up for grabs, beating the
previous record of 197 set in 2004. The Czech Republic elects its senators
every two years, when a third of the 81 seats become available. Observers
say the elections will be an important political indicator after the
country's June general election left the lower house split evenly between
right- and left-wing parties.
One of the candidates is Pavla Topolankova, the wife of the prime minister designate Mirek Topolanek, who is standing on a platform openly hostile to her husband's right-wing Civic Democratic Party.
President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday he would appoint the cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Monday afternoon. Civic Democrat chairman and Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek met President Klaus on Friday at Prague Castle, and presented to him a list of the members of his minority government. The new cabinet is to have 15 ministers, 9 of them members of the Civic Democratic Party and 6 unaffiliated, and prepare the country for early elections. The new cabinet is expected to ask the lower house for confidence on October 4th. It is unclear whether it will receive confidence owing to a perfect split between the rightist and leftist blocks in the chamber.