A meeting between leaders of coalition parties called by president Miloš Zeman in Liberec on Wednesday night failed to make any breakthrough in the ongoing government crisis, according to participants. The head of state proposed early elections, a move rejected by parties, or a government without ANO leader and finance minister Andrej Babiš and Social Democrat prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Parties said they would have to consult on the second option. The crisis focuses on the prime minister’s call for Babiš to be sacked as a minister because of his financial dealings. Babiš says he sees no need to resign.
Thousands of people took to the streets of Prague and several other Czech towns on Wednesday evening to protest against Finance Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš and President Miloš Zeman. The biggest rally took place in Prague, with around 20,000 people gathering on Wenceslas Square in the centre of the city, calling on Mr Babiš to leave the government. The organisers of the event said more protests were to follow if their demands were not met. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka last Friday proposed the dismissal of Andrej Babiš to the president over continuing corruption allegations and unexplained financial dealings. The president has refused to do so, arguing that such step would be in contravention of the coalition agreement.
Czech president Miloš Zeman is set to leave for China on Thursday. During his six-day official visit, he is set to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is also scheduled to speak at a conference on the new Silk Road project. Three ministers from the Social Democratic Party, the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and the minister of health, Miloslav Ludvík, who were originally set to take part in the visit, have pulled out of the trip in view of the current government situation.
Czechs recycled on average 45 kilogrammes of waste last year, including paper, glass, plastic and milk cartons. That figure was about 2.5 kilogrammes higher than in the previous year, according to the data released by EKO-KOM, a firm responsible for coordinating recycling in the Czech Republic, on Thursday. According to the latest Eurostat statistics, Czechs are in second place in Europe in terms of overall recycling of packaging waste.
The 23rd international book fair and literary festival Book World Prague gets underway on Thursday. The event, the biggest of its kind in the Czech Republic, brings together writers and publishers from all around the world, including Irish writer John Boyne and Israeli author Uri Orlev. The main topic of this year’s festival is Genius Loci in Literature: Place in the Starring Role. The event will traditionally take place in Prague’s Palace of Industry, but some parts of the programme will also be held in the new airship for literature above the DOX Gallery. The Book World Prague 2017 runs until Sunday.
Prague’s Pink Tank, a symbol of the fall of communism in the country, has been installed at Komenský’s Square in Brno, as part of an exhibition organised by the Moravian Gallery. The tank, originally a monument to Soviet tank crews who liberated the city in 1945, was painted pink by the artist David Černý in 1991, and soon thereafter taken to a military museum outside Prague. On Thursday, the pink tank was put on display in Brno to be featured in an exhibition called Tribes 90, curated by Artist Vladimir 518.
Friday is expected to be mostly cloudy, with occasional rain showers and storms. Daytime temperatures will range between 19 and 21 degrees Celsius.