The Civic Democratic Party’s leadership on Friday voted to expel MPs Jan Florián and Tomáš Ulehla as well as lobbyist Tomáš Hrdlička from party ranks. The two MPs were expelled for breaking party ranks during Wednesday’s vote of confidence in the Rusnok caretaker government; Hrdlička for having talked them into a last-minute change of stance. The move had no effect on the negative outcome of the confidence vote for the Rusnok administration but clearly demonstrated that the centre-right parties did not have a 101-vote majority in the lower chamber, dashing their hopes of establishing a new government.
The smallest party of the former centre-right coalition, LIDEM, appears to be on the verge of collapse after its leader Karolina Peak unexpectedly walked out of the party following Wednesday’s confidence vote in the lower house. Ms. Peake, who left the assembly hall during the vote, said she no longer saw things eye-to-eye with the party leadership and could not remain in her post. The party, which has approximately 200 rank and file members, is to hold a party conference in the coming weeks to decide whether to run in next year’s general elections or simply break up.
A flash poll commissioned by Czech Radio indicates that 72 percent of Czechs are in favour of snap elections. The poll conducted by the Median agency suggests that approximately the same number of respondents would go to the polls. If that were the case the next general elections could attract a record number of voters. Median notes that the fact that voters want early elections has not reduced support for President Miloš Zeman.
President Miloš Zeman and ex-president Vaclav Klaus ascended the highest Czech mountain peak Snežka in the Krkonoše Mountains on Saturday within the traditional St Lawrence pilgrimage. They joined several hundred people from the Czech Republic and neighbouring Poland for a mass celebrated out in the open by Cardinal Dominik Duka. The event was marred by a minor incident in which President Zeman’s critics and supporters exchanged words.
The former prime minister, Petr Necas, has employed his former chief of staff Jana Nagyova, as his personal assistant, according to Saturday’s edition of the daily Mlada fronta Dnes. Although the spying and corruption scandal in which she is alleged to have played a central role brought down his centre-right government Mr. Necas has stood firmly by his chief of staff with whom he is now in an open relationship. The Office of the Government terminated Jana Nagyova’s work contract on Friday. She will not be receiving any severance pay.
Fresh storms overnight are reported to have caused considerable damage in the Pardubice region, bringing down power lines, damaging roofs, uprooting trees and flooding gardens and cellars. Firefighters in the Zlin region were also out in force throughout Friday night responding to 34 emergency calls. Despite several days of heavy storms which affected most parts of the country there have been no injuries or loss of life.
The prime minister of the interim government, Jiří Rusnok, will hand in his resignation on Tuesday, Mr Rusnok said. The move comes after the cabinet failed to win approval from the lower house of Parliament on Wednesday. The prime minister also said his government would make no far-reaching decisions; he suggested some bills might yet be submitted to the Senate but that his cabinet will focus on day-to-day running of the country.
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.
The Czech government on Friday approved an agreement with Russia on debt settlement, PM Jiří Rusnok said. The Russian Federation owes the Czech Republic some 8 million dollars, the remaining part of a debt that originated in the Soviet era. Under the deal, the Czech government will receive around 80 percent of the debt, most of which was controversially settled in the early 2000s; the government of then PM Miloš Zeman sold claims worth around 2.5 billion US dollars to a private firm for 580 million dollars.
One of the hosts of a high-profile Czech TV currents affairs show has been dismissed under political pressure, the public broadcaster’s trade unions said on Friday. Czech TV announced earlier this week that Daniela Drtinová would no longer host the nightly Události komentáře show, and that she had been offered her own programme. But on Friday, the trade unions said the decision was made to accommodate complaints from politicians, who objected to her tough interviewing style. The claim has been rejected by Czech TV CEO, Petr Dvořák, who said he considered the move a career boost for Ms Drtinová.