Former prime minister Petr Nečas will represent the Czech Republic on Thursday and Friday at the EU summit in Brussels, even though he was replaced by Jiří Rusnok as the head of the government this week. Mr Rusnok, who has begun work at the Kramař villa in the Czech capital, is currently busy putting together a caretaker cabinet. Mr Nečas, on what will be his final political trip, is expected to propose that more EU funds be used for disaster relief.
The new government led by Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok has begun to take shape. Martin Pecina will take the helm at the Ministry of the Interior, which he headed from May 2009 until March the following year in a previous caretaker government. Diplomat Jan Kohout, who served as foreign minister in the same cabinet, appears set to take the same post again. Marie Benešová, a former senior state prosecutor, is in the frame to take the justice portfolio. Mr Rusnok said on Tuesday that his cabinet would be completed within two weeks. After its naming, it will have 30 days to seek a parliamentary vote of confidence.
Prague 1, together with the City of Prague, the Confederation of Political Prisoners and an organisation dedicated to the life and work of democratic politician Milada Horáková, will commission a statue of the late politician in her memory. The idea was spearheaded by representative of Prague 1 Martin Jan Stránský. Following her arrest in 1949 on trumped-up charges, Milada Horáková was put through a notorious show trial that was broadcast on radio and shown in newsreels. She was found guilty of treason and was executed by the Communist regime on June 27, 1950 – 63 years ago this Thursday. A possible location for her statue could be in front of the Petschek Palace; organiser hope to have the project completed within one year.
The most protected area of the country’s Šumava National Park, where only nature is allowed to reign, will double next year from 12.9 percent to 26 percent under a new management plan. The plan was put together by forestry, farming, and science specialists as well as NGOs and representatives of the Environment Ministry, and will be valid for the next 15 years once officially approved. The news was released by the spokesman for Šumava National Park, Pavel Pechoušek. In addition to protecting key areas, the park’s management will put new emphasis on education, creating five new educational trails by 2020. The park will also see three new trails for visitors on horseback.
Members of the centre-right coalition have again confirmed they will not
back the Rusnok government in a confidence vote as long as they hold a
majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Speaking to the daily Právo,
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek derided the new government as a
“cabinet of friends of Miloš Zeman” and not a government of
“experts”. He warned it would neither pass in the lower house nor see
state budget for next year approved, raising the risk of a provisional
The coalition’s candidate for prime minister, Miroslava Němcová, meanwhile, slammed President Zeman’s decision to ignore the balance of power in the Chamber of Deputies as irresponsible; she stressed that the new cabinet would not get any support from her party . The centre-right coalition, which collapsed following the resignation of former prime minister Nečas, will not push for early elections as long as they have a majority.
A new poll released by the CVVM agency suggests that at the beginning of June trust in the country’s president, Miloš Zeman, was above 50 percent, while mayors and local town hall representatives enjoyed almost 60 percent. Trust in the country’s then-prime minister Petr Nečas stood at just 18 – before a corruption and spying scandal erupted, within days leading to the fall of his government. Just 14 percent of those queried expressed trust in the Chamber of Deputies, and 22 percent in the Senate.
The Social Democratic Party has said it may instigate a vote on the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies in July, even if the party beforehand lacks the 120 votes needed. The head of the party’s deputies club Jeroným Tejc said the Social Democrats would still try and gain support from the centre-right parties the Civic Democrats and TOP 09. MP Tejc made clear his party wanted to open the way to early elections. So far, the Social Democrats can count on the vote of 54 of its own MPs and 26 MPs from the Communist Party. Public Affairs, who have also called for early elections, have 11, bringing the total to 91. As it stands, it is unclear which – if any – parties in the Chamber of Deputies will vote in favour of Jiří Rusnok’s cabinet: the opposition parties all prefer early elections and the members of the centre-right coalition a continuation of the previous government under new prime minister Miroslava Němcová.
An exhibition of Czech photographers who worked in the pictorialist style has begun at the Ateliér Josefa Sudka gallery in Prague. Among the artists represented are František Drtikol, Jaromír Funke, Jan Lauschmann, Drahomír Josef Růžička and Josef Sudek. Pictorialism, which was common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is a style in which the photographer manipulates a photograph in such a way as to create rather than simply record an image. The exhibition runs until August 30.
The literary historian Martin C. Putna has been made professor. The title was conferred on the academic on Tuesday by the minister of education, Petr Fiala, after President Miloš Zeman refused to present Mr. Putna with a professorial decree on the grounds that he had carried a provocative sign in a gay pride parade. Mr. Zeman's position was widely criticised in the academic community. The president has since said the right to appoint professors should be removed from the head of state, a move that would put the Czech Republic in line with other European countries.
Speaking after his appointment, Prime Minister Rusnok said his cabinet should be in place within two weeks. He said his government’s priorities would be to prepare a budget, the system of drawing European Union funds and helping those affected by recent flooding in the Czech Republic. For his part, President Zeman said he would play no role in the selection of ministers, adding that a technocrat government was the best guarantee that political scandals would be investigated.
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