The Czech central bank on Friday released an improved estimate of the state budget deficit. It now predicts the deficit will reach 2.3 percent of the country’s GDP, down from its previous estimate of 2.4 percent. The Finance Ministry expects this year’s deficit to reach 2.8 percent. Next year, the Czech National Bank forecasts a further decrease of the deficit to 2.0 percent of GDP.
MPs are scheduled to vote on the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday August 20, four days later than originally planned. If successful, the vote will lead to early elections within 60 days. The earliest possible date for an election would be October 11 and 12. The move was backed on Thursday by the heads of four political parties: the Social Democrats, the Communists, TOP 09 and Public Affairs, who have enough MPs between them to carry the vote.
Former Czech international Tomáš Ujfaluši has signed a one-year contract Sparta Prague. The defender, who made 78 appearances for the national squad, had played abroad for more than 12 years for clubs including Italy's Fiorentina and Atletico Madrid in Spain. His last club was Turkey's Galatasaray, where he hadn't played since last August due to a knee injury.
The director of Prague’s National Theatre, Jan Burian, has agreed to stay in his post after Culture Minister Jiří Balvín accepted his conditions. Those include no further changes in the management of the institution until after the next elections. Mr Burian was reinstated to the position on the prime minister’s request last week, a day after he was fired by the culture minister. His dismissal caused an outcry among the theatre’s actors, management and politicians.
An undisclosed source in the leadership of the right-of-centre Civic
Democratic Party has told the Czech News Agency that the party should be
jointly-led in the run-up to early elections by acting chairman Martin
and former candidate for prime minister Miroslava Němcová, who could be
the face of the Civic Democrats in the upcoming election campaign. The
source also told the agency that the party would strive for non-party
candidates to head ballots. Previously, former education minister Petr
Fiala was discussed.
The Civic Democrats, following Wednesday’s confidence vote, are seen as having fallen into their deepest crisis in 22 years of existence. Polls have repeatedly shown them losing ground to TOP 09 on the political right. Some political analysts have suggested that only defeat in the election will release the party from the clutches of so-called party godfathers long said to be pulling the strings from behind-the-scenes.
Jan Florián, one of two MPs who broke Civic Democrat ranks during Wednesday’s confidence vote, has quit the party. In a statement released to the media and posted on facebook, the MP laid blame for his party’s loss of voters with former chairman Petr Nečas as well as former Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda. He slammed both for, in his view, leading the party to the brink, while praising former leaders Mirek Topolánek and Václav Klaus. Both Florián and MP Tomáš Úlehla were expelled from the Civic Democratic Party’s deputies’ club on Wednesday evening in response to their actions.
The lower house on Thursday passed legislation put forward by the Senate effectively nixing the controversial S-Card system which was to have streamlined the payment of social benefits for recipients. The system is expected to come to an end later this year; pensioners, welfare recipients or others will receive payments to their account or be able to cash in cheques at their local post office as was the case before. The legislation will now head to the upper house.
The Social Democrats – like other parties in the Czech Republic – have begun preparing for elections to be held either in October or early November. According to ČTK, the party will pick candidates in August and present a policy programme in September. The party will run its own campaign which its leader said would be positive and transparent. Polls for months have suggested that the Social Democrats have a major advantage and are likely to win. The party also won in 2010 but was unable to find a viable partner to form a government.
In related news, Karolína Peake resigned on Thursday as the leader of LIDEM, which was the smallest party under the previous government. Mrs Peake, who left the Chamber ahead of Wednesday’s confidence vote, said she had decided to step down as she held different views on basic issues from most of the grouping’s seven other MPs. LIDEM formed in April last year as a splinter group from the Public Affairs party, which rose to prominence quickly but quit the coalition after becoming embroiled in scandal.
Football’s Chelsea – with goalie Petr Čech – lost to Real Madrid on Wednesday in the International Champions Cup in Miami. The pre-season game saw four goals in all – two of which were scored by Real star Cristiano Ronaldo. His first was a swerving free-kick from 23 metres. After the match, Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho – who coached Real until June – shrugged off the loss. He said it was positive that his players could focus on mistakes they had made.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
HN: Developers aiming to sell co-living concept in Prague
Veronika Čáslavová: sex trafficking still a taboo topic in Czechia