A new survey by the STEM agency released on Monday suggests growing support for the coalition Civic Democrats. Although the opposition Social Democrats in October maintained their lead with 25.3 percent of support, the right-wing Civic Democrats enjoy the support of 15.7 percent, up from 12.9 percent in the previous month. Only two other parties would make it to the lower house: the coalition TOP 09 with 9.3 percent, and the opposition Communists with 11.2 percent.
Czech doctors and nurses’ trade unions on Monday gave the government an ultimatum to deliver on its promise of raising their salaries. If the health minister does not provide guarantees for a 10-percent raise in salaries of health workers in 2012 by November 5, union leaders say they will launch a new round of protests. For his part, Health Minister Leoš Heger said it was not his intention to back down on the pay rise.
More than 80 percent of Czechs believe political parties are corrupt, according to a new survey by the CVVM agency released on Monday. The same number, 81 percent, of those polled said parties only defend the interests of their members, while 82 percent believe parties are only interested in people’s opinions ahead of elections. Some 45 percent of people who took part in the poll believe democracy could not function without political parties, while only 25 percent said joining a party could change something.
The European Commission’s proposal for the development of transport infrastructure between 2014 and 2020 leaves out the planned Czech D3 motorway between Prague and the southern city of České Budějovice, an official of the South Bohemian region said on Monday. That means the Czech Republic would have to cover all costs of the motorway’s construction, estimated at around 50 billion crowns. Officials now want to work together with MEPs to have the planned motorway included in the proposal.
In the first nine months of this year, banks in the Czech Republic provided nearly 52,000 mortgages worth nearly 85 billion crowns, according to government data released on Monday. That represents a 42 percent increase compared to the same period last year. In 2010, the Czech mortgage market recorded a growth after a two-year decrease.
Two Czech scuba divers drowned at a popular sports destination, Schwarze Brücke on Lake Atter, in northern Austria on Sunday. The divers, aged 22 and 34 were 35 metres below the surface when they suffered difficulties, the police in Linz said. The cause of the accident is not yet known. Fellow colleagues began searching for the duo when they failed to break the surface, soon finding the body of the 34-year-old. The body of the younger diver was recovered several hours later. The lake at Schwarze Brücke is roughly 170 metres deep and the water temperature in the autumn season is only around 5 degrees Celsius.
A court in Zlín, in the east of the country, on Monday sentenced an Irish citizen to six years and two months in jail for fraud. The court said the 52-year-old fugitive Irishman committed fraud worth 19 million crowns in his position as the executive manager of the bankrupt firm Moravian Aviation between 2005 and 2008. The court also banned the man from holding executive positions in business companies for seven years.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová on Monday moved up a notch to career-high world number three in the WTA’s ranking following her victory at the Linz tournament last week. The 21-year-old Wimbledon champion switched places with Victoria Azarenka, from Belarus, whom she’ll play in the first round of the WTA Championships in Istanbul on Tuesday. The number one among Czech men, Tomáš Berdych, remains at seventh place of the ATP rankings.
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.