Opposition parties in the Chamber of Deputies are continuing in the fifth day of a filibuster intended to block the passage of government reform bills. On Friday the parliamentarians remained in session until after midnight and began an extra-ordinary weekend session on Saturday morning. The coalition is expected to approve the possibility of another late-night session. The effort to obstruct a vote on fifteen reform bills, which were returned to the lower house by the opposition-controlled Senate, began on Tuesday morning. A vote on next year's budget proposal was allowed on Wednesday in order to avoid a provisional budget for next year.
The opposition says that parliamentary lawyers are contesting the restrictions on speaking format imposed by the coalition during the filibuster. Deputy Social Democrat chairman Lubomír Zaorálek says that the Legislative Committee of Parliament, which interprets the rules of procedure in the house, found that the coalition’s rules on speaking times and the merging of debates defies common practice and could be grounds for a review by the Constitutional Court. The coalition parties however are standing by their interpretation of the rules, by which the number of speakers is determined per subject rather than subject point.
Police are investigating a ten-million-crown public order awarded by the Defence Ministry that they believe was assigned illegally. The daily Právo writes that Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra approved an auditing commission for the consultation firm KPMG last summer without a public tender and without publication of the fact – an option legally allowed only under extreme circumstances. According to documents that the newspaper claims to possess, the ministry acted on the commission in spite of warnings from its lawyers that the deal would be in contravention of the law. By law, all public commissions worth more than two million crowns must be arranged through a public tender.
The Czech “Alois Nebel” will join 17 other films in competition for an Oscar nomination for best animated film, the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced. The Czech Film and Television Academy has already selected Alois Nebel as the Czech candidate for the best non-English speaking film category. The debut film by director Tomáš Luňák must yet be presented in Los Angeles by the end of this year to have a chance of being shortlisted for an Oscar nomination. The story of a train dispatcher at an out-of-the-way station near the Polish border in the 1980s uses a unique technology called rotoscoping, which combines feature and animated film for the first time in Czech cinematography.
Czech and Slovak foreign ministries have agreed to provide mutual consular services for each other’s citizens and visa applicants. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and his Slovak counterpart Mikuláš Dzurinda signed the agreement with the aim of easing problems for tourists and decreasing costs for both countries’ consulates. Czech embassies in six countries will represent Slovakia, while Slovakia will do the same in Kenya. Similar treaties are in place with other countries.
A replica of the first Czech long-haul aircraft completed a 120km trip from Pardubice to Prague on Saturday, marking the 100 years since the first such flight by aviator Jan Kašpar. Pilot Petr Mára originally intended to repeat the famous feat on its anniversary, May 13, but was impeded by strong winds. The replica Blériot can fly for roughly an hour and a half but requires an almost complete absence of wind and clouds and keeps an altitude of about 500 metres.
The Fed Cup world group final between the Czech Republic and Russia remained drawn on Saturday, 1:1. World no. 2 Petra Kvitová handed her team the advantage in round one, handily defeating Maria Kirilenko, 6:2, 6:2. In the next round, the host nation’s Svetlana Kuznetsova won an equally sound victory over the Czech Republic’s Lucie Šafářova 6:2, 6:3. The two victors, Kvitová and Kuznetsova, will now face off in the third rubber at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow on Sunday.
Conditions over the coming days are expected to be overcast with scattered showers and daytime highs of around 15° Celsius.