The Czech government is in disarray, following the resignation of seven cabinet ministers. The country was thrown back into political turmoil on Thursday after a fragile deal between the three governing parties on forming a new pro-European government collapsed within hours after being clinched, raising the prospect of early elections. The deal, which would have paved the way for Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to resign in the wake of a scandal over his private finances, was rejected by his own party leadership. Mr. Gross himself voted against it, which has evoked criticism from some high ranking members of his own party. There is now speculation that some of Mr. Gross' own party ministers may turn against him and enforce the demise of the whole Cabinet at its Wednesday session.
President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday that he would push for early elections unless the three parties in the collapsed governing coalition could come to an agreement on forming a new government within a reasonable time-frame. Mr. Klaus ruled out a possible third alternative - a minority Social Democrat government. The President said he was very disappointed by the break down in talks and urged the three coalition parties to let him know without delay whether they were capable of resolving the protracted crisis.
A clean up operation is underway at Moravia's Pernstejn Castle, which was extensively damaged by fire on Friday. Sixteen fire units fought the blaze for twelve hours. The damage is estimated at around 100 million Czech crowns, around 4 million US dollars. Fortunately, parts of the castle which are open to tourists have not been damaged, although a storeroom containing antique furniture and 300 hundred valuable paintings was completely destroyed. The Gothic-Renaissance castle dates back to the 13th century and is often described as "a pearl of Moravian architecture". The cause of the fire remains unknown.
A twenty five year old driver who was caught speeding in a stolen car in the early hours of Saturday crashed into seven vehicles and injured a policewoman before giving himself up to the police, the CTK press agency reports. The young man, who assaulted police officers after he was forced to stop and get out of the car, is believed to have been on drugs.
Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.
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