In related news, Bohuslav Sobotka, the head of the opposition Social Democrats, has told iDnes that even if the country’s caretaker government survives its confidence vote, he will continue to push for early elections. In an interview for the website, the party leader emphasised it was necessary to stop President Zeman from further expanding his influence, saying there hadn’t been a need to defend democratic principles so strongly prior to the existence of the current cabinet. Following the collapse of the last government, President Zeman ignored lawmakers – as well as parliamentary principles, according to some critics – by naming his close associate, Jiří Rusnok, prime minister. The Social Democrats are divided on the issue: some within the party maintain the caretaker government is better than a return by the centre-right.
One of the Czech Republic’s most-highly respected film festivals – the Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště – wrapped up on Saturday. The 39th inception saw 228 films screened in eight theatres; 184 of them were feature-length productions. Notable guests this year included actor and director Jan Kačer, Czech acting legend Pavel Landovský, Serbian director Goran Paskaljevič and others. The Summer Film School is famous for lectures, workshops and an open forum for debate with artists and industry professionals.
In related news, parts of the country were hit by sudden storms late Saturday and early Sunday: North Bohemia, including the city of Liberec, was hit by strong winds and rain at around 11 PM. Hail also fell in places; no serious damage was reported. Storms are expected to hit most of the Czech Republic later on Sunday. A thunderstorm hit Prague shortly before six pm.
Asked on a Sunday TV debate programme what he thought his
government’s chances in the confidence vote were, Prime Minister Rusnok
said he thought it would get 96 or 97 votes in the 200-member Chamber of
Deputies and expressed the convicition that would be enough. He said the
numbers were difficult to gauge given the dynamic
nature of the lower house but stated that Wednesday would be decisive. The
former centre-right coalition says it has a 101 majority but it is unclear
all of its MPs will be on hand for the confidence vote due to summer
Meanwhile, a new STEM/MARK poll commissioned by public broadcaster Czech TV has shed light on how members of the public view the coalition government: 37 percent answered it was a government of friends of President Miloš Zeman; 15 percent sees it as a government of experts, and 7 percent as a cabinet of the Citizens’ Rights – Zemanites party.
A bust of Václav Drbola was unveiled in Babice in the Třebíč area on Saturday in memory of the priest who was sentenced to death and executed by the Communists in 1951. Drbola was one of 11 who received the maximum sentence in a series of show trials conducted by the former regime in connection with the murder of the three Communist functionaries in the area. The Church has launched the process of the late priest’s beatification; around 300 people attended the unveiling on Saturday.
Meteorologists have again registered record temperatures across the Czech Republic: on Saturday parts of the country saw almost 39 degrees Celsius – five degrees higher than was predicted just a few days ago. The country has seen a heat wave for the second weekend in a row. Brod nad Dyjí in the Břeclav area saw 38.7 degrees; Prague and Brno also saw temperatures above 38. Meanwhile, it was revealed that July was the sixth-hottest in the country in 80 years and meteorologists say that warmer than average weather will continue throughout the month of August.
League champions Plzeň are on a roll in the new season, declassing Ostrava 4:0 in their match on Saturday. Plzeň dominated despite missing a number of key players; the goals were scored by Kovařík, Wágner, Hořava a Ďuriš. In the first three matches of the season, Plzeň has gotten off to an excellent start, winning all three games and netting 13 goals while giving up just two.
The Office of the Government on Friday released records of the salaries of its civil servants and top officials beginning in 2010, reversing a previous decision for them to remain private. Interest in the salaries was heightened by a corruption and spying scandal which led to the fall of the previous administration. According to the information released, the former head of the office, Lubomír Poul earned 1.17 million crowns a year plus bonuses, while Jana Nagyová, the former chief-of-staff charged in the scandal who was romantically linked to ex-prime minister Petr Nečas, earned almost one million crowns from 2011-2012 plus an additional two million in bonuses over two years. Critics charge that the height of the salaries was inappropriate for a cabinet that billed austerity as its main focus.
Czech actor Miroslav Donutil has said he is quitting the National Theatre, citing – as the “last straw” – a botched attempt by the current interim government to sack its director Jan Burián. Mr Donutil told Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes the move by the Culture Minister Jiří Balvín to remove the theatre head was the height of amateurism. Mr Donutil, who has starred in numerous stage productions as well as countless films including Dědictví, Pevnost and Pelíšky, was a member of the National Theatre for 23 years. He cited his long-term involvement with the theatre as well as fatigue as additional reasons for leaving.
Luboš Pašek, a long-term business partner of controversial Czech lobbyist Roman Janoušek, has claimed that some of the gold seized at a Prague bank in June by the country’s anti-crime unit is his. Police seized millions of crowns in gold bullion as part of an extensive raid that exposed a spying and corruption scandal that led to the fall of the previous government. Along with the seizure, Mr Pašek’s office and home were also searched. The businessman has filed charges against the state. According to his lawyer Prokop Beneš, the seizure was unlawful; he claims his client bought the investment gold from a certified seller and that the transaction and source of the funds were transparent; he added that the account was in his clients’ name. The lawsuit will go ahead if the police do not return the gold within six months, according to news site iDnes.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”