The chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party Stanislav Gross has resigned from his post. Mr. Gross, who resigned as prime minister in April amidst a scandal over his private finances, made the announcement shortly after the party voted that his successor Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek should lead the Social Democrats to the 2006 general elections. Stanislav Gross's popularity plummeted in the wake of the financing scandal and he said his resignation should help the party's prosperity.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has accepted the role of election leader and said that Stanislav Gross's resignation was "a call to action" for the party, which trails the opposition Civic Democrats by more than ten percentage points in public opinion polls. In a rousing speech to the party leadership Jiri Paroubek said he was determined to lead the Social Democrats to a third election victory. He strongly criticized the party's coalition partners - the Christian Democrats - for allegedly undermining the work of the governing coalition and openly flirting with the opposition Civic Democrats. The Prime Minister said that if the Christian Democrats and the Civic Democrats wanted to cooperate they should propose early elections and he would readily accept the challenge.
Private physicians have announced they will go on a one day strike in protest of the poor payment morale of some health insurance companies, in particular the leading insurance company VZP. Payments allegedly arrive three to six months after they are due and physicians say the constant delays are endangering their livelihood. The one day strike is to take place sometime within the next fortnight and on the given day emergency medical care should be provided by hospital wards.
Communist Party leader Miroslav Grebenicek on Friday confirmed his decision to resign as party chairman. Grebenicek, 58, has headed the party for 12 years. He said earlier he had decided to resign over party policy discord.
A new party chairman is expected to be elected on October 1st at a meeting of the party's executive committee. Deputy chairman Vojtech Filip is a hot candidate for the post.
Czech director Bohdan Slama's film "Something like Happiness" won the best film Golden Shell award at the San-Sebastian film festival in Spain. The film, seen as a surprise choice for the main prize, is the story of a group of neighbours living in an industrial corner of a small Czech town. Czech actress Ana Geislerova picked up a Silver Shell award for best actress.
Sunday is expected to be a sunny day with temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.
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