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Change-of-guard at TOP 09 after election debacle

MEP Jiří Pospíšil was elected leader of the centre-right TOP 09 at the party’s two-day conference in Prague. Mr. Pospíšil, who entered the party only recently, won support from 147 out of 177 delegates present. Markéta Pekarová Adamová was elected first deputy chair.

The party’s former leader Miroslav Kalousek accepted responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the elections and did not run for re-election. The outgoing party leader Miroslav Kalousek will continue to influence party politics since he is head of the party deputies‘ group in the lower house.

Social Democrat party branch calling for change

A senior member of the Social Democratic Party, Jeroným Tejc, has announced he is leaving the party after twenty years. Tejc said he was disillusioned by the party leadership’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for what he described as the debacle in October’s general elections, and that he saw no will in the party for change.

The party is to hold an election conference in February, but the current leadership rejected a proposal for the party leader to be elected in a direct vote rather than by delegates as hereto.

The South Moravian party branch of which Tejc is a member, has called on outgoing Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to give up his deputy post over the party’s poor showing in the elections. The party won just over 7 percent of the vote and is headed for the opposition.

Hamáček to be first deputy chair in lower house

The newly-elected chairman of the lower house Radek Vondráček from the ANO party has said he would appoint his predecessor in the post Social Democrat Jan Hamáček first deputy chair. In a debate on Czech public television, Mr. Vondráček also indicated that the foreign policy portfolio in the lower house would not go to SPD’s Tomio Okamura. Mr. Okamura’s party is strongly anti-EU and anti-migrant.

Radek Vondráček likewise expressed support for the election of Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats deputy chair. He said his failure to win support earlier this week was the result of a communication failure.

Family Next Door project helps intercultural understanding

Dozens of Czech families had lunch with immigrant families on Sunday within the annual Family Next Door project organized by the NGO Slovo 21 as a way of breaking down barriers and assisting integration. The event has become increasingly popular since it was first held in 2004 and has helped form many new intercultural friendships. Over 1,400 families have taken part in the project over the years.

Police make fresh request of immunity committee

The police has asked the lower house to strip deputy Bohuslav Svoboda, former mayor of Prague, of his immunity, to enable further criminal prosecution linked to the former mayor’s involvement in the city’s Opencard.

Svoboda was earlier charged with misuse of public funds and violating the law on public tenders. The deal on the multi-purpose card was found to have been hugely disadvantageous for Prague City Hall.

Svoboda was served a suspended two year sentence in connection with the case, and appealed the verdict, before regaining parliamentary immunity in the elections.

The lower house has already received a similar request as regards ANO leader Andrej Babiš and his deputy chair Jaroslav Faltýnek, who were charged on suspicion of EU subsidy fraud earlier this year.

Gott and Bílá dominate Český slavík awards

The Czech music awards ceremony Český slavík - or the Czech Nightingale - held in Prague on Saturday saw Lucie Bílá clinch the title of best female singer for the twentieth time ,while pop idol Karel Gott won for the 42nd time. The best musical group award went to Czech heavy metal band Kabat for whom it is the twelfth trophy.

A special award went to 1960s singer Marta Kubisova who recently announced the end of her career at 70. Kubišová who was banned from singing by the Communist authorities for 20 years, got a standing ovation. Český slavík winners are chosen through a public poll.

Weather forecast

The start of the week should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered rain or snow showers and day temperatures between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.