The opposition Social Democrats will support the caretaker cabinet of
Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok in Wednesday’s vote of confidence. The
decision, made by the party’s broad leadership, is seen as a defeat for
party leader Bohuslav Sobotka who was against giving the Rusnok cabinet
legitimacy and a victory for his main party rival deputy chair Michael
Hasek who argued in favour of supporting the caretaker administration in
the interest of maintaining stability. The party leadership’s
recommendation to deputies is not without conditions; the party will
continue to push for early elections and wants to start negotiations on
curbing the powers of the president in the event of a political crisis.
The Communist Party and Public Affairs have also pledged to support the Rusnok administration. Even with the votes of all three opposition parties, the administration’s chances of winning Wednesday’s confidence vote remain slim.
The centre-right parties, who claim to have a 101 vote majority in the 200 member lower house say they will vote against the Rusnok cabinet as one man. Several independent deputies are likely to support them. TOP 09 chairman Karel Schwarzenberg said after a meeting of the party’s leadership on Tuesday that if the Rusnok cabinet fails to win its confidence vote, the centre-right coalition would present its own cabinet with majority support in the lower house. Mr. Schwarzenberg said he hoped President Zeman would appoint such a government to office.
The Supreme Court has ordered the reopening of two criminal cases halted by ex-president Klaus’ New Year’s amnesty, the daily Pravo reports. The cases relate to extensive tax evasion and fraudulent car-dealing. Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has reportedly targeted another five cases which he would like to see reopened, among them the notorious H-System and Progres Invest fraud involving hundreds of millions of crowns. The 2013 presidential amnesty saw over 7,000 prisoners released and halted the prosecution of hundreds of cases, including high-profile cases of corruption.
In its annual report on the Czech Republic Social Watch criticizes what it calls the excessive austerity measures introduced by the former centre-right cabinet which it says led to job uncertainty and a deteriorating standard of living for the majority of Czechs. Social Watch says that people’s growing frustration with the situation has led to political apathy and has fuelled anti-Roma sentiments. The report also criticizes the lack of women in politics and rampant corruption.
The Regional Development Ministry is planning to seek damages of 56 million crowns n the highly anticipated corruption trial of former Central Bohemian governor David Rath, which begins on Wednesday. The amount is equivalent to the funds paid out by ministry for projects in the Central Bohemia region, which were covered by grants from the European Union, Czech Radio reported on Tuesday. After last year’s arrest of Mr. Rath and a number of his associates who were accused of manipulating EU-funded projects, the European Commission refused to reimburse the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic will buy 100,000 tonnes of oil for its emergency reserves by mid-2014 the internet news site ihned.cz reported on Tuesday. The Administration of State Material Reserves will declare an open tender for deliveries worth around 1.6 billion crowns. Only reliable suppliers with at least a three-year history in the business and three or more similar orders implemented in the past will be considered. Price will be the main criterion.
A maternity hospital in Karvina, one of the most polluted easternmost parts of the country, is conducting a study on the impact of the environment on the health of newborns. Close to 200 pregnant women will be monitored in the course of the study and their newborns will remain under medical surveillance for a year. Heavy air pollution in this part of the country is believed to be behind the increased incidence of asthma and allergies in young children.
The former prime minister, Petr Nečas, has divorced his wife Radka, to whom he was married for 27 years. The couple’s relationship became highly publicized in the past couple of months, after the police accused Mr. Nečas’s former chief-of-staff Jana Nagyova of ordering the military intelligence service to spy on his then-wife. In July, Mrs. Nagyova and Mr. Nečas officially announced that they have been in a relationship. Petr and Radka Nečas have four children together, two of whom are minors.
Czech industrial output fell by 5.3 percent at constant prices year-on-year in June after a 2.2 percent drop in May, the Czech Statistical Office said on Tuesday. Month-on-month, seasonally adjusted industrial output dropped by 0.9 percent in June. The floods that hit the Czech Republic in early June caused a 0.2 percentage point drop in industrial production, according to the CSU's estimate.
Meteorologists have issued fresh storm warnings for six regions of the Czech Republic. The warning is valid for Prague, central Bohemia, Karlovy Vary, Plzen, South Bohemia and Usti regions as of late Tuesday until early Wednesday. People have been warned to expect high winds and hail storms. Sunday’s storms caused severe damage around the country and power companies are still working to renew electricity supplies to some of the worst affected regions.