Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek on Monday soundly rejected demands by the main opposition Civic Democratic Party that he step down to pave the way for early elections in December. Paroubek had said at the weekend elections could be held in February or March, about three months early, by passing a law that would shorten the government's term. He did so following signals from the leaders of the minor parties in his coalition government that they were willing to form a new government with the opposition Civic Democrats. Under the constitution, early elections may be held after Parliament rejects a confidence vote in the government three times. Prime Minister Paroubek has proposed adopting an amendment to the constitution allowing that process to be bypassed.
Czech pharmacies will close their doors at noon on October 6 for one hour in support of a planned all-day strike by general practitioners. The actions have been called to protest the chronic failure of health insurers to reimburse medical professionals on time. For their part, insurers say they are two months or more behind in reimbursements because they receive too little state support to insure civil servants, the unemployed and retirees.
Two Czech police officials have been demoted for their poor handling of a neo-Nazi concert that took place in southern Bohemian a week ago Saturday. Some 500 Czech skinheads and extremists from other countries attended the concert in the town of Kretetice u Strakonice. According to a complaint by observers from the anti-racist group Tolerance, police monitored the event, but failed to intervene when participants shouted Nazi slogans, a criminal offence in the Czech Republic. The president of the police presidium, Vladislav Husak, on Monday said he has demoted for one year both the regional and district deputy department heads directly responsible for the police action. He cited their failure to deploy a sufficient number of officers and to receive evidence of illegal behaviour from the independent observers as factors.
Swiss voters at the weekend supported a referendum in favour of easing restrictions on workers from new European Union member states, including the Czech Republic. Complete free movement of labour should take effect in 2011. The approval in Switzerland, which is not an EU member, came amid growing discontent among nations like Germany and France about immigration from Central and Eastern Europe. Currently, only the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands have fully opened their labour markets to new EU members.
German Football club Borussia Dortmund have offered Czech international Jan Koller the chance to sign a new contract at the club just two days after the striker sustained a serious cruciate ligament injury. Koller will be sidelined for six months following the injury but Dortmund have said he still has the option to sign. Koller, a 12-million-euro signing from Anderlecht in 2001, recently stated his intention to leave Dortmund at the end of the season when his contract expired.
Overcast skies and light rain is the forecast for the coming days, with temperatures in the high teens.
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