Leader of the smallest government coalition party, the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), Pavel Bělobrádek was returned unopposed to the top post at the party’s conference in Zlín on Saturday. Bělobrádek received 251 out of a possible 275 votes. Minister of Agriculture, Marián Jureča, was returned as first deputy chairman. Bělobrádek said the party had succeeded in making a comeback without abandoning its traditional values. He set the next goal as defeating Communist-Social Democrat administrations in power in many regions.
Following on from the finance minister on Friday, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka visited the Dukovany nuclear reactor on Saturday and outlined his scenario for how the sector should develop. Sobotka said the government’s recently approved long term energy framework envisages one new reactor at Dukovany and another at power company ČEZ’s second site at Temelín. Sobotka said Dukovany should have priority, partly because of the strong support for nuclear power in the region, and a tender for the new reactor there could be held by the end of 2016. Dukovany’s four current reactors are likely to be phased out from 2035 onwards.
ANO leader and minister of finance Andrej Babiš has said that he believes the near 70 percent state controlled power company ČEZ should be able to finance the construction of a new nuclear reactor at Dukovany from its own resources. Babiš’ comments came during a visit to the nuclear reactor site on Friday. The minister pointed out that ČEZ has one of the lowest debt levels of all major European electricity companies and should be able to cover the preparation and construction costs on its own.
How to finance new nuclear reactors has been a major issue within the coalition government after it announced last year that it would not guarantee the price of electricity from new nuclear reactors. ČEZ immediately afterwards cancelled its ongoing tender for two new reactors at its Temelín site. Dukovany’s existing four reactors are likely to be phased out between 2035 and 2037.
The 66th Sudeten German Congress began in Augsburg, Bavaria, on Saturday with improved relations between Germany and the Czech Republic at the forefront of discussions. No mention was made of the Beneš Decrees, which controversially expelled around 3 million Germans, mostly living in the Sudetenland, from Czechoslovakia after WWII. German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Emilia Müller said the Sudeten community, many of whom live in Bavaria, could be a foundation stone for improved German-Czech relations. She praised the resolution by Brno’s Council last week expressing regret for the expulsion of Germans to Austria in 1945. Around 1700 are believed to have died on a forced march out of the Czech city
Czech diplomat and former politician Jana Hybášková has been selected to be the European Unions new ambassador to Namibia, the Czech daily Lidové Noviny has reported. Hybášková is currently EU ambassador to Iraq, a post where she has been perceived as performing well, the paper adds. She has held that post since 2011. Hybášková was formerly a Czech ambassador to Kuwait and has been a member of the European Parliament. She stood in elections for a series of centre parties, most recently the Christian Democrats.
Hundreds of Czechs have taken the chance to visit Czech Radio’s main headquarters in Prague during its traditional open day on Saturday. Visitors have the opportunity to tour studios, meet presenters and journalists, and attend a series of concerts being held for the occasion. Star presenters taking part included Jiří Chum, Lucie Výborná and Jan Pokorný. The doors opened to the public at 9 am with the event running till 5 pm..
Czech contestants, the duo Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta, have lived up to low expectations and failed to win through to the finals of the Eurovision Song contest on Saturday. Their entry was ‘Hope Never Dies’ and they were eliminated in the earlier stages. The duo were the first to take part for the Czech Republic since 2009 with previous poor results and lukewarm public interest leading organisers to drop participation in the following years. Czech Television decided to rethink its decision later and the finals in Vienna will be broadcast Saturday.
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