The Social Democrats have called on to President Vaclav Klaus not to
delay talks on the establishment of a new government. Following the
failure of the minority Civic Democrat government to get a vote of
confidence in Parliament on Tuesday, President Klaus said he would take
steps to appoint a new prime minister designate after the senate and
local elections on October 21 and 22.
When it comes to entrusting someone with the task of forming a new cabinet, the president faces no time limit and is free to pick whoever appears to have the biggest chance of carrying out the task.
Police say a memorial at Terezin has been vandalised and a bronze plaque commemorating the victims of fascism has disappeared. The fascists turned Terezin into a Jewish ghetto and the fortress town in North Bohemia was also the site of a Nazi labour camp. The plaque disappeared from the bank of the Ohre River into which the fascists threw the ashes of 22,000 perished Jewish prisoners in November 1944.
Minister Vondra, on Wednesday, also released a number of statistics involving Czechs abroad. The number of Czechs committing offences involving narcotics is on a dramatic rise, he says, with 45 people arrested this year alone. In the summer months, 90 citizens passed away compared to 107 in the same period last year. While the number of hospitalised Czech tourists has decreased (168 as opposed to 132 in 2005), the number of accidents has risen by 23 to reach almost three hundred (295 accidents).
The legendary WWII pilot General Frantisek Fajtl has passed away at the age of 94. The war veteran had fought in France, the United Kingdom - where he served in the Royal Air Force, and in the liberation of Czechoslovakia. He also survived three prisons and a concentration camp. General Fajtl was awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest state distinction, two years ago. Frantisek Fajtl died in hospital on Wednesday morning.
The minority Civic Democrat government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has not survived a vote of confidence in the lower house. In the 200 member lower house ninety-nine deputies voted against the government, ninety-six voted in favor and five were not present. Prime Minister Topolanek said his cabinet would most likely resign in one week from now at its session on Wednesday October 11th. He said his party would continue to push for early elections.
The Czech Republic will have to pay the EU a 150 million crown fine ( 5,13 million euros) for exceeding the annual milk quota set by the EC. A spokesman for the European Commission said Czech dairy farmers had exceeded the limit by 17,000 tons. Eight other EU countries will have to pay similar penalties - altogether to the tune of 377 million euros.
The results of a poll conducted by the STEM polling agency suggest that three out of four Czechs have a negative attitude towards Islam. The poll published in Tuesday's edition of Hospodarske Noviny indicates that more than half of all Czechs fear possible terrorist attacks by Islamic terrorists and are afraid of a potential conflict between Western and Muslim civilizations. At the same time, the poll shows that Czechs have scant knowledge about the Islamic faith itself.
In line with Czech law it will now be up to the president to appoint a new prime minister designate who will be entrusted with the task of forming a new cabinet. The country's inconclusive June general elections produced an even division of forces between the right and left parties in the lower house which resulted in a drawn-out political crisis. It would appear that neither of the two strongest parties on the Czech political scene - the Civic or Social Democrats - are in a position to form a new government with the smaller parties in Parliament. Political analysts have not yet entirely ruled out a grand coalition or a caretaker-type government made up of experts. The president is free to pick whoever appears to have the biggest chance of forming a new cabinet.
During its short term in office, the Civic Democrat government abolished one ministry, two government councils and merged other institutions in order to economize. The IT Ministry was abolished at the outset and its agenda was taken over by the Interior Ministry. The head of the Office of the government Jan Novak recently abolished the Council for Human Resources and is currently transferring tasks to individual ministries. Not all cost-cutting measures have been well received. Svatopluk Karasek who was recently dismissed as the government's Human Rights Commissioner said the reduction of staff in his office was tantamount to a closure. The office currently has 500 employees.
Former Health Minister David Rath has said that one deputy for the Social Democrats may not be present for health reasons at Tuesday's crucial confidence vote in the minority government of Civic Democrat Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. Her absence could seriously affect the vote as the opposition leftist bloc has exactly the same number of MPs in the chamber as the centre-right parties. However, Prime Minister Topolanek said on Monday he himself would not take part in the vote if an opposition MP should be absent for reasons of ill health.