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14-04-2005

Social Democrats refuse three-party agreement on new cabinet

The leadership of the Social Democratic Party has not approved Thursday's agreement with the other two parties of the collapsed ruling coalition, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union. The parties originally agreed to re-join forces and form a new cabinet, allowing Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to resign after months of turmoil and averting early elections but the Social Democrats have not ratified the agreement. The chairman of the lower house, Social Democrat Lubomir Zaoralek, said that the party's leadership insists on their earlier proposal to form a pro-European coalition cabinet which would not include the leaders of the three coalition parties.

The deal, approved by the three parties' negotiators in the early hours of Thursday meant to pave the way for Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to quit over a housing scandal and be replaced, probably by his preferred candidate, European Union ambassador and rank-and-file Social Democrat Jan Kohout.

Christian Democrats ratify agreement on new government

Meanwhile, the national committee of the second largest coalition party, the Christian Democrats, has approved the original agreement of the three parties and even nominated their candidates for the vacated ministerial posts. Party chairman Miroslav Kalousek has called on the Social Democrats to approve the original deal.

Thursday's events mark another turn in a drawn-our crisis in the Czech government coalition which started two months ago after the Christian Democrats called on Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to step down over the controversy surrounding the financing of his Prague flat and his wife's business dealings.

Stanislav Gross held the post of Czech prime minister for less than a year. He took over from Vladimir Spidla, who resigned last June after government parties - including his Social Democrats - were routed in the European Parliament elections. Mr Gross also replaced Mr Spidla as chairman of the Social Democrats. While known as a negotiator rather than a visionary, the European Union's youngest prime minister and former railway worker failed in weeks of talks to win enough backing from his political colleagues to continue amid a scandal over his family's finances.

Poll: Czechs say politicians should resign over unclear property

A new poll conducted by the CVVM agency suggests that around seventy-five percent of Czechs believe that politicians should resign over unclear property or financial situations even if it has not been proved that they broke the law. The respondents were much less critical of infidelity in marriage; only 25 percent of them considered it as a reason for resignation from a political post. Respondents were also very critical of unauthorised use of academic titles.

Cech on shortlist for PFA player of the year award

Czech international goalkeeper Petr Cech is one of six players short listed for the English Professional Footballers' Association's prestigious player of the year award, after an extremely successful first season at Chelsea. The 22-year-old, who comes from the west Bohemian town of Plzen, has set a number of records in the Premier League. He was recently voted second best goalkeeper in the world.

Weather

The weather is expected to stay the same for the next few days, that is partly cloudy with temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius.

14-04-2005