The country’s foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, has been reelected as the chairman of the right-of-centre party TOP 09. The result was expected and Mr Schwarzenberg was given backing by 96 percent of delegates at the party’s conference in Hradec Králové. He received 162 votes out of a total of 169. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek saw similar success and was reelected as the party’s first deputy leader. Others elected or re-elected to TOP 09’s leadership were the Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromír Drábek, Marek Ženíšek, Pavol Lukna, and Helena Langšádlová. The last candidate is the only new name among the deputy leaders.
A party conference held by the centre-right Civic Democrats on Saturday
confirmed overall “unity” within the party, its chairman Prime
Petr Nečas has said. Speaking to reporters, though, he stressed that if
the Civic Democrats wanted to do well next autumn in regional and
senatorial elections they would have to properly explain government
as well as focus more on regional issues. On Saturday, Mr Nečas received
backing from 439 party delegates, with just 24 voting against, granting
an extended mandate. The party chairman took the opportunity to praise the
results of the government, which he said had met 80% of the Civic
Former Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolánek, who stepped down last year, also spoke at the convention – urging party unity.
The head of the country’s prison service, Jiří Tregler, has admitted there could be similar attempts in the future by prisoners to organize mutinies in Czech jails, similar to extensive plans recently thwarted by the police and prison guards. Overpopulation in Czech prisons is a key factor, he suggested, speaking on Czech TV on Sunday. At the same time, Mr Tregler made clear he considered the recent attempt by suspects to incite revolts across five prisons highly unusual. Six people so far are being investigated in the case. Aside from facing potential difficulties with overfilled jails, the Prison Service will have to operate with around 1.3 billion crowns less in next year’s budget, Mr Tregler said.
Seven passengers were injured near Ostrava on Saturday evening – one of them seriously – when their train derailed. None of the injuries are life-threatening. The accident took place at around 7:30 pm near Český Těšín; overall, some 50 people were on board at the time. Emergency workers faced difficulties in getting to the scene. The Railway Inspectorate, investigating the incident, suspects the train driver may be responsible for the accident, but are reviewing a number of possible scenarios; the damage has been estimated at more than 10 million crowns. The police concluded work at the scene on Sunday morning.
Police in the east of the country, are investigating an accident at a home in Ostrava on Saturday when a six-year-old girl fell five metres from an apartment window. The child landed on the pavement, suffering internal injuries including possible brain damage. According to a police spokeswoman, the accident took place during a visit to the home by several mothers with children. Police are investigating the accident as a case of possible negligence resulting in bodily harm.
More than 200 police officers monitored a meeting of right-wing extremists in Rakovník, west of Prague on Saturday, where radicals gathered to honour a colleague murdered in the town three years ago. The person was killed in an incident at a local discotheque and fellow extremists have gathered annually since. Around 60 of them met on a local square at around 7 pm, but the meeting lasted only several minutes. The police registered no incidents.
Hockey goalie Tomáš Vokoun is on a roll as his Washington Capitals remain undefeated this season. Vokoun notched his sixth win in a row on Saturday as his team downed the Detroit Red Wings. The goalie, who joined Washington this year, stopped 32 shots and allowed just one goal. Washington crushed Detroit 7:1. In other action, Ottawa’s Milan Michálek, also on a streak, scored the winner against Columbus at 59:55 of the 3rd period. Ottawa took the game 4:3.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has accepted his party’s nomination for the Czech presidency. TOP 09, which is holding a convention this weekend, is thus the first party to select a candidate for the post, which will be filled in early 2013 either by direct or indirect election. Though consistently ranked one of the most popular politicians in the Czech Republic, Mr Schwarzenberg will likely face an uphill battle for the presidency as left-wing parties are likely to dominate the Senate. It was for precisely this reason, he said, that he had decided to join the fray, despite stating previously that he would only participate in direct elections. His candidacy, he hopes, will show the party as a strong alternative and unwilling to back down under averse circumstances. The 73-year-old nobleman also addressed his age, saying he had taken it into consideration, but has proven robust in his travels as foreign minister.
Civic Democrat chairman and Prime Minister Petr Nečas has received an extended mandate to lead his party until the end of next year. The concurrent convention of the senior government party voted according to expectations, with 439 delegates for and 24 against. Mr Nečas took the opportunity to praise the results of the government thus far, which he said meet 80% of the Civic Democrats’ platform. He also called for policy and media cohesion within the party and the government. The next vote on the leadership of the Civic Democratic Party will likely be in the autumn of next year after regional and senatorial elections.
Three Czechs are being charged with espionage in Zambia. According to the local press, they were arrested in the capital, Lusaka, for making sketches of an air force base and barracks. They were released on bail on Friday, but their passports were taken to prevent them from leaving the country. A relative of one of the suspects told the Czech Press Agency they had come to the country as tourists after a business trip to South Africa, and had been casually photographing buildings in the city. The Czech ambassador in Zimbabwe is attending to their case.