Representatives of the Communist Party, leader Vojtěch Filip and Miloslava Vostra met for roughly an hour and a half with the president on Saturday, discussing the possibility of early elections. Mr Filip said after the meeting in his view other solutions would only deepen the current political crisis. According to the party leader, the president said he was glad to hear their stance, even though he will only make public his decision on how to proceed on Tuesday. The possibility of a caretaker government with Communist Party support was not discussed.
Riot police clashed with right-wing extremists during a demonstration in Duchcov in the Teplice area on Saturday. Stones and bottles were thrown and police used tear gas and a water cannon. One of the officers went down in the clash and had to be rescued by colleagues. Five people, including two officers, were injured. Also among the injured was a photographer who was struck in the head.The demonstration was organised by the ultra right-wing Workers Party for Social Justice. Nine people were detained and 34 weapons - mostly baseball bats - were confiscated.
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins face off in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday evening. Chicago will have home-ice advantage in what has so far been a closely-fought series. The Blackhawks won the last game to even the best-of-seven match-up at two apiece. Both clubs feature the talents of Czech players: the Bruins’ David Krejčí leads in the post season on points, while future hall-of-famer Jaromír Jágr has proven effective on key plays. At the same time, he has suffered a scoring drought.
Rastislav Maďar, the president of a Czech organisation focusing on infectious diseases and tropical medicine, has warned that families with children who under the age of two years should avoid exotic destinations or less developed parts of the world for risk of illness. Citing statistics from inoculation centres, he suggested that India, Nepal, Peru and less-traveled parts of Thailand were riskiest for toddlers, where they could pick up diarrhea, inner-ear infections, respiratory illnesses, fever, and heatstroke, to name a few. Mr Maďar also told the Czech news agency that an additional factor was poor or less-reliable health care in areas.
In related news, leaders from the leftist opposition are meeting with Mr Zeman on Saturday: the Social Democrats and the Communists are expected to renew their call for early elections. Polls suggest that those would most favour the opposition Social Democrats; according to a survey released on Friday, their rivals the Civic Democrats would face an historic defeat if the elections were held now. Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes suggests that the president on Tuesday could confer the task of forming a new government to Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka. He, however, made clear earlier that he would turn down such an offer. The Social Democrats want to form the next government based on election results.
Two new paths for cyclists will be added in the city of Plzeň within the Greenways projects thanks to EU funds. Pedestrian, cycling, and rollerblading have been expanded along the city’s four rivers since 2006. By the end of 2014 an additional 1.7 kilometres will be added at the cost of 27 million crowns the Plzeň’s Mayor Martin Baxa said.
American singer and jazzman Bobby McFerrin and the Czech Philharmonic held an open-air concert on Prague’s Old Town Square on Friday that was seen by 10,000 people, according to estimates. The concert on the packed square was free. Soloists included violin virtuoso Josef Špaček, clarinetist Tomáš Kopáček and violin cello player Jan Keller. The concert lasted 90 minutes and ended with a rendition of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.
The Senate has approved a bill which would strip convicted MPs of their salaries. The bill still needs to be signed into law by the president. Once in force it will affect MP Roman Pekárek who is serving a sentence for corruption. Another jailed MP, David Rath, also charged with corruption, awaits trial.
President Miloš Zeman has started a series of meetings with party leaders with regard to the ongoing government crisis. On Friday afternoon he received the Civic Democratic Party’s nominee for prime minister Miroslava Němcová and acting party leader Martin Kuba at his residence in Lány. It will be up to the president to decide who will be given a chance to form the next cabinet. The president has not indicated whether he plans to give the outgoing centre-right coalition another chance to form a government. Mr. Zeman plans to meet with the leaders of all parliamentary parties over the weekend and will make his position known at a press conference on Tuesday.
President Zeman has fully met his financial obligations stemming from the presidential election campaign, the head of his office Vratislav Mynář told journalists on Friday. The president covered the final expenditures this week, thanks to a financial gift from the party of Citizens’ Rights which he set up and of which he is honorary chairman. The 35,000 crowns left on his campaign account will reportedly go to a children’s charity. In line with a new law on direct presidential elections, all candidates in the running had to have a transparent account.
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