President-elect Miloš Zeman has called for an early general election to
replace the current unpopular government. In an interview for Czech TV just
hours after his election to head of state, Mr Zeman said the cabinet of PM
Petr Nečas was only supported by 8 percent of Czechs. One of the coalition
parties, LIDEM, did not win its mandate in a popular vote, according to the
president-elect, and therefore the entire government did not come out from
free elections. The call was rejected by leaders of the coalition Civic
Democrat and TOP 09 parties who said the government was responsible to
Parliament’s lower house, and not the president.
Miloš Zeman, a former Social Democrat prime minister, became the first Czech president elected in a popular vote after he beat Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg in the election’s second round on Saturday.
In related news, Mr Zeman said he would approach political parties represented in the Czech Parliament for support for several issues including incentives and investments for the economy, new legislation on financial disclosures, and changes to the voting system in local elections. In an TV interview on Sunday, the president-elect said financial disclosure and the duty to prove the origin of property would be crucial for efforts to curb corruption; the voting system in local elections should enable people to choose candidates on different ballots, according to Mr Zeman.
The chief justice of the Czech Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychetský said he would accept the president-elect’s nomination for another 4 years in the post. Mr Rychetský’s ten-year term expires in August. Mr Zeman said earlier he would consider appointing Mr Rychetský, who served in Mr Zeman’s government as justice minister, for another term. The terms of three of the top court’s 15 judges expire on Monday, and another 10 will leave the court later this year.
Air pollution in the northeastern Moravian-Silesian region has deteriorated, with dust exceeding the permitted levels at all measuring stations in the region, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute said on Sunday. Smog alert for the area, declared by meteorologists last week, continues to be in place. The conditions are expected to improve next week.
The film Ve stínu (In the Shadow) by director David Ondříček has won the film critics’ awards for best movie of 2012. The film, a dark detective story set in the 1950s, won in another four categories including best director, photography, music and best male actor in leading role. The prize for best documentary was awarded to the film Láska v hrobě (Love in the Grave) by David Vondráček about a pair of homeless people living in one of Prague’s cemeteries. The third annual Film Critics’s award were handed out at a ceremony in the Archa Theatre in the capital on Saturday night.
Czech tennis players Lucie Hradecká and František Čermák have failed to win the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open after they lost to Australia’s Jarmila Gajdošová and Matthew Ebden 3-6, 7-5 in the final on Sunday. Lucie Hradecká said they had several opportunities to change the play but missed them, while the 37-year-old Čermák said reaching the final itself was a success for him.
Czech Davis Cu champion Radek Štěpánek is set to undergo operation to
treat persisting problems with his back, and will miss the first round of
the competition in which the Czech team faces Switzerland next weekend, the
team’s captain Jaroslav Navrátil said on Sunday. To replaced the injured
player, the captain nominated Ivo Minář, ranked 189th in the world, to
play alongside Tomáš Berdych, Lukáš Rosol and Jiří Veselý.
The start of the week should be mostly overcast with snow and daytime highs ranging between -5 and -1 degrees Celsius.
Miloš Zeman has been elected president of the Czech Republic. The former Social Democrat prime minister received 54.8 percent of the vote in the second round of the direct presidential elections on Saturday while his rival for the post, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, obtained 45.2 percent. Miloš Zeman won in all Czech regions with the exception of Prague. The turnout in the runoff reached over 59 percent, less than in the first round two weeks ago. Miloš Zeman will be inaugurated on March 8, the day after Václav Klaus’s second term expires.
Speaking at an improvised news conference at his headquarters in Prague, president-elect Miloš Zeman said his victory was “convincing”, and promised to be the voice of all Czechs, not just those who backed him in the election. After thanking his campaign team, Mr Zeman said he would outline a detailed programme of his presidency in an address to the Czech Parliament. The newly elected president reiterated that he would visit Slovakia on his first trip abroad, and asked his 18-year-old daughter Kateřina to informally play the role of the “first miss” as his wife wished to stay out of the public arena.
With nearly all votes counted, Karel Schwarzenberg conceded defeat in the second round of voting for the Czech president, and congratulated rival Miloš Zeman on winning the popular vote. Mr Schwarzenberg said, however, that the election was decided by lies and dirty tricks in the campaign. He also announced he would continue to serve as foreign minister in the current centre-right government, would run for re-election as the head of the TOP 09 party.