Businessman Andrej Babiš will be the top candidate on the ballot of his ANO party for Prague in the October general elections. He will be running against two political heavyweights – former Chamber of Deputies chairwoman Miroslava Němcová heading the Civic Democratic ballot and the former foreign minister and chairman of the TOP 09 party, Karel Schwarzenberg. The Social Democrats have decided to put a union leader Jaroslav Zavadil at the top of the Prague ballot. Green Party chairman Ondřej Liška will also be running in the capital.
Miroslav Toman, who holds the Agriculture portfolio, is the third minister from the interim Czech government selected to stand for the Citizens’ Rights Party-Zemanites. Mr. Toman will head the grouping’s candidate list in the Ústí nad Labem region, a spokesperson said on Thursday night. The minister of the interior, Martin Pecina, and the minister of labour and social affairs, František Koníček, have already been announced as Zemanite candidates. The caretaker cabinet, which is led by Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok, was installed by President Zeman despite the fact that a previous coalition said it could deliver a majority in the lower house. The government failed to win backing in a confidence vote and MPs subsequently voted to dissolve Parliament.
The Civic Democratic party launched its election campaign on Friday with posters saying “I vote for the right”. The slogan on the posters is shown as a twitter hashtag and the name of the party does not appear on them. The party also confirmed its candidate lists on Friday afternoon. Miroslava Němcová will be leading the key Prague ballot, the acting party chairman Martin Kuba will be the top candidate for his home region of South Bohemian, the vice-chairman Jiří Pospíšil is running in the Plzeň region, and, uncharacteristically, an independent candidate – the former Education Minister Petr Fiala – was selected for the South Moravian region .
The average salary in the Czech Republic has increased by almost 300 crowns year-on-year in the second quarter to 24,953 crowns, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Friday. The purchasing power of the Czech consumer has gotten worse, though, due to inflation. The real wages have actually gone down by 0.3 percent compared to last year. Additionally, two thirds of the population has lower than the average salary.
A 36-year-old Czech soldier died on Friday, succumbing to the shrapnel wound he received during a drill at the Boletice training facility earlier this week. The incident happened while the 42nd mechanical battalion was holding mortar training. The deceased soldier, who was hit by shrapnel from an exploded bomb was a member of a gunnery unit and was in charge of aiming the mortar. Military police and a special committee are investigating the incident.
A newborn girl was placed in the baby box at the Prague 2 city hall on Thursday afternoon. This is the first baby that was placed here, and the first one at a baby box at a town hall building. There are only two such facilities, the rest of the more than 55 Baby Boxes around the country are located in hospitals. The newborn, who has been named Jana, is the 90th baby that was placed into a baby box in the Czech Republic since the first one was installed in 2005. Baby boxes were criticized last year by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for allegedly going against five articles of the international convention on children’s rights.
Two Barbary lion cubs have been born in the Olomouc zoo to a lioness Lilly. Almost one month after their birth, the cubs, named Tery and Basty, weigh more than five kilos each. The Barbary lions became extinct in the wild in 1922 and the Olomouc zoo is one of only three in Europe where this species reproduces. The Moravian zoo has had Barbary lions since 1979, and some 19 cubs were born there since.
Trainer of the national hockey team, Alois Hadamczik, has released the list of possible players for the team that will be going to the Sochi Olympic games. The list has 67 names, most of whom are players for the NHL. Among the candidates are Jaromír Jágr, Petr Nedvěd and the goalkeeper Tomáš Vokoun. The final list of 25 players who will be heading to Sochi will be made public at the latest on 13 January. The Czech team will be playing in the first match of the Olympics against Sweden.
The Czech Republic’s footballers are preparing to face Armenia in a key World Cup qualification game at Prague’s Eden Arena on Friday night. The Czech coach, Michal Bílek, has described the match as a “final”, adding that his team needs to win three out of their four remaining qualifiers if they are to reach Brazil next year. The Czechs – who have previously beaten Armenia 3:0 in Yerevan – are currently third in their group, one point behind Bulgaria. On Tuesday they play group leaders Italy away.
Czech President Miloš Zeman will soon appear on around 300 billboards around the country in an election campaign ad for his Citizens’ Rights Party-Zemanites, the news site iDnes.cz reported. The advertisements show a postcard bearing an official postage stamp with the president’s image and the words I’m going to vote for the Zemanites – what about you? Mr. Zeman has said in the past that as head of state he is duty-bound to be above party politics. Some polls indicate that the Zemanites, who currently have no seats in the Chamber of Deputies, could reach the five-percent threshold needed to enter the lower house.