Marián Jurečka has been elected chairman of the Christian Democrats at a party congress in Prague on Saturday. Mr Jurečka, former agriculture minister, received 205 out of 357 votes. Šárka Jelínková was elected first deputy chair.
Unlike his main rival for the post, Jan Bartošek, the new chairman is reserved about possible cooperation with the current opposition parties and has not categorically ruled out collaboration with the ruling ANO party.
Speaking to delegates after his election, Mr Jurečka said the Czech Republic needs people who want children. He also said he wanted to focus on the problem of housing shortage.
The outgoing leader of the Christian Democrats, Marek Výborný, who has been in the post for less than a year, has stepped down following his wife’s sudden death in late September.
The foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four, comprising the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, are due to meet with their Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Prague next week. Among the topics on their agenda will be the security situation in the Middle East and north Africa and its impact on the European Union.
Mr Shoukry, who will be in the Czech Republic from Wednesday to Friday, will also hold bilateral talks with his Czech counterpart, Tomáš Petříček. Egypt is one of the Czech Republic’s most significant trading partners in the Middle East. In 2018 the volume of mutual trade reached over 345 million US dollars.
Five Czech police officers, who have temporarily returned to the Czech Republic from a military mission in Baghdad, are due to return to Iraq on Saturday. The officers returned to Czechia 16 days ago due to a restricted operation of the training centre in the Iraqi capitol.
The Minister of Interior, Jan Hamáček, said their the move had nothing to do with the development of the safety situation in the country. The Czech Army currently has around 40 soldiers and police officers in Iraq mainly working to train Iraqi security forces to fight against the ISIS militia.
They remained stationed in the country despite the conflict between the Us and Iran following the US drone strike on a leading Iranian general.
The number of reported crimes in Prague has increased in 2019, after a five-year steady decrease, the Czech News Agency reported on Saturday. Police in the Czech capital recorded 49,863 crimes, which is 2,262 more than in 2018. Around a quarter of the cases have been solved.
The most significant increase was recorded in terms of property thefts. Violent crime has also slightly increased, with the number of murders up by 5 at 22.
The overall crime rate in the Czech Republic in 2019 increased by around 3.5 percent compared with the previous year with around 199,221 criminal acts investigated. Crime increased in 12 out of the country’s 14 regions with the two exceptions being the Liberec and Zlín regions.
In tennis, Czech world No.2 Karolína Plíšková has failed to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open. The world number was defeated by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-7, 6-7 in a match that lasted two hours and 28 minutes.
The only Czech left in the singles competition is Petra Kvitová, who will face Maria Sakkari of Greece in the fourth round on Sunday.
The winner of the 24th annual dog sled race called Šediváčkův Long, held in the Orlické Mountains in north-eastern Czech Republic, is Czech Roman Habásko, who won the race with his twelve dogs in 16 hours and 39 minutes.
Some 80 mushers from ten countries with nearly 700 dogs competed in the race, which got underway on Tuesday. Due to poor weather conditions, the routes were shortened to 250 and 170 kilometres.
Šediváčkův Long is considered one of the toughest in Europe. Competitors also have to spend one or two nights sleeping in the snow.
Sunday is expected to be mostly overcast, with occasional snow-fall and day-time highs ranging between -2 and 2 degrees Celsius.
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