The Civic Democrats in Prague and the Plzeň region elected new leaders on Thursday. Filip Humplík became the new head of the party’s Prague branch after he received more votes from party delegates than former environment minister Tomáš Chalupa. The previous Civic Democrat leader in Prague, Bohuslav Svoboda, has been nominated for the national party leadership. In the Plzeň region, former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil was re-elected to head the Civic Democrats there for another two years.
The Social Democrats under Bohuslav Sobotka who is leading talks on trying to form a new government, will rely on deputy chairwoman Alena Gajdušková to lead a work group examining possible changes to the country’s Church restitution law. Other members will be named over the next few days. The Social Democrats would like to revise legislation overseeing the return of property and reparations to church groups. The party would also like to see historic property at Prague Castle to be excluded. But the party faces tough negotiations not only with potential coalition partners, the Christian Democrats, but also representatives of the Church who reached agreement with the former Nečas government.
An investigation by the anti-corruption police unit uncovered no proof of corruption or other wrongdoing in the financing of Jan Fischer’s presidential campaign. Mr Fischer, the finance minister in the current interim government, came under suspicion after unpaid debts were resolved quickly following his naming to the cabinet in July. The case was shelved by the state prosecutor overseeing it, Jan Lelek, after the police failed to produce evidence a crime was committed. He told the Czech News Agency he expected the police would do the same.
The Defence Ministry is aiming to scrap aging Russian Yak-40 regional jets and replace them with a new medium-sized airliner, the Airbus A319. After 2020, it aims to buy two medium-size transport planes as well as to replace Soviet-made fighter helicopters with a new multi-purpose fleet, the Czech news agency reports, citing material from the ministry to be discussed at the government level next week. The analysis and plans are reportedly critical of the current state of the country’s aircraft fleet.
Czech travel agencies expect that the price of package vacations to foreign destinations will go up by around 10 percent, according to Czech Radio’s Regina. Agencies are reacting to recent intervention to weaken the Czech currency by the central bank in a bid to stimulate consumer spending prior to increases, help exporters and overall boost the economy. Travel agencies are reportedly trying to keep the prices of so-called ‘first minute’ vacations the same.
Over the next several weeks homeless people in the Czech Republic will announce the weather in a number of broadcasts on public broadcaster Czech TV, news website idnes reports. The project is a continuation of Days of Hope which already took place in other European countires including Swizterland and Germany. Besides presenting the weather, people living on the street will also talk, in other programmes, about their lives. The aim of the project, according to a spokewoman, is to break stereotypes about the homeless and those marginlaised in society.
Czech hockey legend Jaromír Jágr scored the winner in overtime for New Jersey on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings. The final score was 2:1. The winner was Jagr’s 690th career goal, tying him with retired hockey great Mario Lemieux in ninth spot among the league’s top scorers. Jágr, who is 41, has a one-year contract with the Devils.
President Miloš Zeman on Thursday formally asked Social Democrat leader
Bohuslav Sobotka to start negotiations on forming a new government, Mr
Sobotka told reporters. The Social Democrat chairman said he expected a new
government could be formed before the end of the year. However, the
president had earlier said he would only appoint Mr Sobotka prime minister
after he fully recovers from a recent injury.
The Social Democrats came first in last month’s general elections. They have already began talks with the ANO party and the Christian Democrats on forming a coalition government; however, negotiations were on hold for some time due to a crisis within the Social Democrat party when some of its leaders sought to oust Bohuslav Sobotka as party chair.
The Social Democrats on Thursday failed to reach agreement with
representatives of Czech churches and religious societies on cuts to a
major property restitution deal. Ahead of the elections, the Socials
Democrats promised to change the settlement, mainly to lower the financial
compensation churches are set to receive as part of the deal. Both sides on
Thursday agreed to form an expert team to review the Social Democrats’
Under the terms of the controversial property restitution settlement approved by the previous lower house, Czech churches are to get back property confiscated by the Communist regime worth 75 billion crowns, as well as another 60 billion crown as compensation for property that cannot be returned.
Former MP Petr Kott was on Thursday released from police custody, 18 months after he was arrested on corruption charges. Mr Kott faces trial along with former prominent Social Democrat David Rath and other people who allegedly manipulated public contracts in central Bohemia. After his release, Petr Kott told reporters he was going to resume his original profession and work as a doctor in Prague’s Bulovka hospital.