The eight edition of the annual KomiksFEST! gets underway in Prague on Wednesday. This year the festival will include an exhibition of work by the well-known Czech comics artist and writer Jiří Grus, a theatre performance relating to the mythical Prague WWII superhero Pérák, films, workshops and several other events.
The mayor of Prague, Tomáš Hudeček, and other councilors who are being investigated in connection with the overpriced Opencard electronic card system will not resign even if they appear in court. A representative of the mayor’s party, TOP 09, made the statement on Wednesday. Mr. Hudeček says that the police have made mistakes in their investigation of the matter. He had previously that he would quit if charges were pressed. Along with nine other current and former Civic Democrat and TOP 09 councilors, he is accused of breach of trust and breach of competition regulations. The Opencard is used for public transport and other services.
Mr. Sobotka says he will not remain in the leadership of the Social Democrats with people who had lied publicly. He told the news website Aktualne.cz that a meeting of the party’s executive committee set for November 10 would decide who would remain: him or Mr. Hašek. He said that the Social Democrats needed to overcome the schizophrenia they had been suffering from for some time and that perhaps he ought to have tried to end it prior to the elections.
Clarinet player Ferdinand Havlík has died at the age of 85. The musician was one of the founders of the Semafor musical theatre where following the early death of another of the cultural institution’s creators, Jiří Šlitr, he became its main composer. The Brno-born Mr. Havlík also set up his own Swing Band in the 1970s and wrote music for films.
The leader of the party that came second in the elections, ANO 2011, says they would “tolerate” a government of which they were not a member, if the cabinet adopted some of their policies. ANO chief Andrej Babiš made the comments in an interview for Czech Television on Wednesday. The Slovak-born billionaire said his party did not wish to participate directly in government, but added they would consider their options. In their first general election, ANO took over 18 percent of the vote.
Experts cited by the CTK news agency agree that a coalition between the Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and ANO would not bring about significant economic changes. They consider such a coalition as the only viable option and note that the direct or indirect participation of ANO in government would effectively prevent the Social Democrats from raising taxes. The three parties would also most likely commit to keeping the deficit in public finances below 3 percent of GDP, experts told the CTK news agency.
The ANO party of food magnate Andrej Babiš and the Christian Democrats say they are ready to hold coalition talks with the embattled leader of the Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka, whose party won the elections by a small margin. This is seen as a significant show of support for Mr. Sobotka whose position at the head of the party has been challenged by party rivals close to President Miloš Zeman. Following a vote by the party’s executive leadership Mr. Sobotka was dropped from the party’s negotiating team on Sunday, but he has refused to be sidelined from the talks saying he has the mandate to represent the party and would lead parallel negotiations if necessary.
A maintenance train stopped traffic along the main rail corridor from Bohemia to Moravia on Tuesday morning after going through a red light. The security system automatically blocked all traffic in both directions. A spokesman for Czech Railways said there had been no danger to passengers and the incident was being investigated. The hour long-delay has affected Eurocity, intercity and local connections.
British police are reported to have detained eight EU nationals, among them 6 Czechs in a crackdown on a sham wedding ring, according to Express and Star. The group is believed to have been active in the West Midlands, arranging sham marriages for Czech and Slovak women and Indian men with members of the local community, bypassing asylum laws and enabling them to settle in the UK. According to Express and Star the sham marriages were arranged for the price of 10 thousand pounds.
The centre-right TOP 09, which is going into the opposition after receiving less than 12 percent of the vote in early general elections, has called on the winning parties to lose no time in setting up a government. The party’s deputy chair Miroslav Kalousek expressed shock over the power struggle that broke out in the Social Democratic Party less than 24 hours after its election win, saying that the party should get its act together and accept responsibility for running the country.