Daily news summary News

22-03-2005

Social Democrats reject early elections

The Social Democratic Party's deputies group in Parliament has rejected early elections as a possible way out of the government crisis. The group met to debate the issue after the Christian Democrats, a smaller coalition party, suggested that an agreement on early elections could break the coalition deadlock. The Christian Democrats have given the main ruling party an ultimatum: either Prime Minister Stanislav Gross resigns or they will trigger the collapse of the coalition government and try to bring about early elections. The third party in the governing coalition - the Freedom Union - has also said it is against the idea of early elections.

PM hires renowned firm to improve his image

The embattled Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has hired the renowned French advertising agency Euro RSCG to improve his tarnished image, boost the party's credibility and mastermind the Social Democrats' election campaign. The advertising agency has agreed to take on the task free of charge. Mr. Jacques Seguela, who will be directly in charge of the campaign has organized 16 presidential campaigns since the beginning of the 1980s and brought 15 of his clients to victory. The Czech Prime Minister used to be the most popular politician in the country, with an 80 percent support rating. In the wake of a financing scandal his popularity has plummeted to a mere 18 percent and there are calls for him to resign from office.

Czech MEP may be stripped of his immunity

The European Parliament is considering stripping the Czech MEP Vladimir Zelezny of his immunity. This comes at the request of the Czech authorities in order to enable an investigation into alleged tax evasion. The European Parliament has asked to see the information on the grounds of which the former senator Zelezny was stripped of his immunity by the Czech Senate. This is to ensure that Zelezny's prosecution is not politically motivated.

President meets with Ombudsman

President Vaclav Klaus received Ombudsman Otakar Motejl at Prague Castle on Tuesday. They discussed the work of the Ombudsman's office and Mr. Motejl handed over a report on the cases dealt with last year. Over 5,000 people addressed their complaints to the Ombudsman over that period. The President's office also gets many similar requests for help. In the past President Klaus has been very sceptical regarding the raison d'etre of an Ombudsman in the Czech Republic, but the matter was allegedly not brought up at Tuesday's meeting.

House owners take their case to Strasbourg

Over 100 house owners have filed a complaint against the Czech Republic with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg over the regulation of rents. Czech house owners claim that the current regulated rents do not enable them to cover even the cost of maintenance of their property. They want rents to be raised to at least 49 crowns per square metre per month. The Association of House owners has welcomed the verdict of the European Court of Human Rights which in February issued a ruling in favour of Polish house owners who had a similar complaint. The court ruled that while rents could be regulated it should not be at the expense of house owners.

Weather:

Wednesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.

22-03-2005