Caretaker Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok said that he is not planning to include the currently existing position of deputy prime minister for the fight against corruption and the ministerial position of the head of the government’s legislative committee, which is occupied by Petr Mlsny. In the Sunday Czech Television talk show Questions of Vaclav Moravec, Mr. Rusnok admitted that he does not have enough support in parliament for his future cabinet, but said that there is enough time to negotiate with MPs. On the same program, deputy chairman of the TOP 09 party, Miroslav Kalousek, said that the only support that Mr. Rusnok’s government can hope for is from the Communist or the Public Affairs parties. At the same time, his counterpart from the Social Democratic party, Zdeněk Škromach, retorted that he is not sure that the right-wing partners Civic Democrats and TOP 09 will have the necessary 101 votes in the lower house to confirm their own government, in case Mr. Rusnok fails.
Thirty-nine people were detained a 10 treated for minor injuries after a group of a few hundred extremists clashed with police in the south Bohemia city of České Budejovice on Saturday evening. The protesters, who were chanting racists slogans, separated from a permitted gathering in the center of the city and headed to the Máj neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, where some 200 Roma residents were holding a sanctioned meeting. The police used tear gas and smoke grenades in an attempt to prevent extremist protesters from getting to buildings with a large concentration of Romani residents and to prevent a direct confrontation between the two groups. At least three police officers were injured. The protest was triggered by an altercation between five women that took place in Máj last Friday.
President Miloš Zeman will attend celebration in the Croatian capital Zagreb on Sunday, on the occasion of the country’s entrance into the European Union on 1 July. The Czech president is set to meet his Croatian counterpart Ivo Josipović and the country’s prime minister, Zoran Milanović, as well as the Serbian head of state, Tomislav Nikolić. Also in attendance at the celebration will be the EU president Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barrosso, and a number of European heads of state.
Outgoing Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek and the army’s chief-of-staff, Petr Pavel, commemorated Czech soldiers who died on foreign missions on Sunday by laying a wreath on the grave of the unknown warrior on Vitkov hill in Prague. The Day of Armed Forces has been celebrated in the Czech Republic on 30 June since 2002. The caretaker Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok has asked Mr. Picek to continue in the post of defense minister in his new cabinet. Mr. Picek has not officially responded to the offer.
According to preliminary data, 34 people died on Czech roads in June, which is the lowest number of automobile-related deaths for this month in 22 years. Additionally, this would be the second lowest monthly death toll on Czech roads this year, after February. This would also make it the lowest half-year death toll since 1970, with 242 people having died. There were 276 serious injuries resulting from car accidents recorded in June. The number may rise slightly during the day on Sunday.
As of Sunday morning, Prague’s public transport has switched to summer schedules. Bus and trams around the city will have decreased frequency and in some places limited availability, especially in peak hours, until the beginning of the new school year on 1 September. The metro will also be going less frequent on weekdays.
A 26-year-old Czech man has died after falling approximately 200-feet as he was skiing down the six-thousand-meter Tocllaraju mountain in Peru. According to the Prima television channel, the man was hiking in the Cordillera Blanca range with two other Czechs. The alpinist was alive after the fall, which happened approximately at 4,500 meters, but despite the efforts of the mountain rescue service, succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital.
A few hundred protesters clashed with police in the south Bohemia city of České Budejovice on Saturday afternoon, news server iDnes reported. The protesters, who were chanting racists slogans, separated from a permitted gathering in the center of town and headed to the Máj neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, where some 200 Roma residents were holding a sanctioned meeting. The police have so far been able to keep the two groups away from each other, as members of the first group began throwing bottles and stones at the Romanies. Pepper spray and smoke grenades were used in an attempt to prevent a direct confrontation between the two groups. At least one police officer has been injured. Both gatherings were triggered by a fight that took place between five women in Máj last Friday. Some blamed the local Roma population for not intervening in the fight. On Saturday, a group of local Romani residents gathered to express their desire for better policing in the area, while demonstrators in the center of the city called for the end of violence from the local Romanies.
Former director of Czech Television, Jiří Balvín, accepted an offer from Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok to become the next culture minister. Mr. Rusnok, who was asked to form a caretaker technocrat government by President Zeman last week, has already three other ministerial positions filled – Martin Pecina accepted the post of interior minister, Marie Benešová is to be the new justice minister and Mirsolav Toman will lead the agriculture ministry. Mr. Rusnok said on Friday night said that he is happy with his progress of forming the interim cabinet, since in his first week on the job, he has been able to secure half of the positions. So far there is no indication that his cabinet would pass the vote of confidence in the lower house.
The interior ministry gave an overpriced tender to the Czech Post in 2009, according to an audit carried out by the Czech Supreme Audit Office. The ministry allegedly did not carry out proper analysis or price comparison before awarding the 1.4 billion crown deal for creating the electronic data mailbox system and running it for the first year. As a result, the government has been paying more for this service until this year, when the ministry was able to negotiate a new pricing arrangement with the Czech Post. Ivan Langer, who headed the ministry at the time of the alleged overpriced deal, has denied any wrongdoing.