TOP 09 deputy chair Miroslav Kalousek has said his party’s main rival in the next general elections will be the Social Democrats, who he claims are increasingly falling under the influence of President Miloš Zeman. Mr. Kalousek said he believed the president would try to use his influence in the party to try to introduce a semi-presidential system in the Czech Republic, something TOP 09 was determined to prevent. TOP 09 chair Karel Schwarzenberg has likewise expressed the view that the country’s parliamentary democracy is at threat from the president and said that in view of the weakened position of the Civic Democratic Party, TOP 09 is the only force on the right able to stand up in its defense.
Economists suggest the longest recession in modern Czech history may be over. The results of the second quarter, which are to be officially announced on Wednesday, reportedly indicate a GDP growth of 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter. In the first quarter of this year the economy contracted by 1.3 percent Q/Q, the steepest drop since the recession started. According to analysts the recession, which lasted for six straight quarters, is over but the economy may continue to feel the after-effects for another 18 months.
The young Czech woman who was killed by her boyfriend in India suffered a brutal assault preceding her death, the Times of India reported on Sunday. According to the paper, an autopsy on the body of the 24-year-old revealed a large number of stab wounds, some of them fatal, and indicated that the woman had most likely been thrown against a wall with considerable force. The woman’s 19-year-old boyfriend has reportedly owned up to the murder. The motive of the crime is unclear.
A forty-two-year-old parachutist has died of injuries suffered in a hard landing at a training base in Klatovy. The man crashed from a height of 100 meters sustaining what doctors said were critical injuries. He was airlifted to the Plzen teaching hospital where he died several hours later. It is the second such accident in Klatovy in the space of one week. The accidents are being investigated.
A new large farmers’ shop is to open in Prague’s Vodičkova street on Wednesday, according to David Kukla founder of the Association of Czech farmers’ shops. Mr. Kukla also unveiled plans to open the first two farmers’ supermarkets in the country next year. They should be located in Prague and Brno within selected shopping malls and be approximately 300-400 square meters in size. According to David Kukla open air farmers’ markets are over their zenith and only those with a good location and wide selection of goods will survive.
A secondary school student from Prague has won the gold medal in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 at the 2013 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship in Washington. Jiří Houžvička beat contenders from 81 countries to win the title and collected a five thousand dollar reward. Although still at school he says he sometimes lectures teachers on how to use Power Point in the classroom.
President Zeman has said he will not delay the dissolution of the lower house once the motion is approved by the Chamber of Deputies. The president told Czech Television on Saturday that he had no reason to procrastinate in dissolving the lower house and calling early elections. He made the statement amid speculation that he might try to keep the Rusnok caretaker administration in office for as long as possible. Deputies are to vote on the dissolution of the lower house on August 20th, after which the proposal will be submitted to the president.
Ex-president Václav Klaus has ruled out his further involvement in Civic Democratic Party affairs. Responding to speculation that he could help the party he established in 1991 and headed for over a decade overcome its present crisis, Mr. Klaus told journalists his return was now out of the question. He said that the party had strayed from its course and in order to overcome its problems it needed to make fundamental changes both in ideology and leadership. In recent years Mr. Klaus has had a problematic relationship with the party he founded, giving up his membership in 2008 over disputes with his successor.
The Civic Democratic Party’s leadership on Friday voted to expel MPs Jan Florián and Tomáš Ulehla as well as lobbyist Tomáš Hrdlička from party ranks. The two MPs were expelled for breaking party ranks during Wednesday’s vote of confidence in the Rusnok caretaker government; Hrdlička for having talked them into a last-minute change of stance. The move had no effect on the negative outcome of the confidence vote for the Rusnok administration but clearly demonstrated that the centre-right parties did not have a 101-vote majority in the lower chamber, dashing their hopes of establishing a new government.
The smallest party of the former centre-right coalition, LIDEM, appears to be on the verge of collapse after its leader Karolina Peak unexpectedly walked out of the party following Wednesday’s confidence vote in the lower house. Ms. Peake, who left the assembly hall during the vote, said she no longer saw things eye-to-eye with the party leadership and could not remain in her post. The party, which has approximately 200 rank and file members, is to hold a party conference in the coming weeks to decide whether to run in next year’s general elections or simply break up.