Daily news summary News

25-04-2004

31 parties registered for European Parliament elections

The Interior Ministry has registered 31 political parties preparing to vie for 24 possible seats in upcoming elections to the European Parliament in June. The Interior Ministry made the announcement through its website Saturday evening, noting that only one party had been denied: the so-called "Coalition for the European Restoration of the Death Sentence and True European Democracy". The party can appeal the decision in court. Other parties registered include all mainstream political parties in the Czech Parliament, as well as established non-parliamentary parties like the European Democrats and the Greens.

Meanwhile the party founded by highly-controversial businessman Viktor Kozeny, the so-called Civic Federal Democracy, has also successfully registered for the upcoming elections. Mr Kozeny is the former Czech financier wanted on criminal charges in both the Czech Republic and the U.S..

Zeman: Social Democratic Party's future at threat

The former leader of the Social Democratic Party Milos Zeman has said the future of the party is at threat thanks to what he called the current party leadership's "betrayal" of its pre-election programme. Speaking at a public meeting in the north-west Bohemian town of Most on Sunday, Mr Zeman criticised some Social Democrat representatives for making too many concessions to junior partners in government, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union. Discussing a possible return to politics from retirement, Mr Zeman said he would only be willing to return to party politics if the Social Democrats called an extraordinary convention ahead of the regular party congress planned for 2005.

Police break-up gathering of skinheads at illegal concert

Police on Saturday stepped in to break up a gathering of skinheads at a concert in Chrast, near Pilsen, west Bohemia, after skinheads at the concert began shouting fascistic slogans. The concert was being held at a local restaurant, and had not been authorised. Police, ran checks on eighty-five people present, taking six into custody for further questioning.

Municipalities request 550 million from the Ministry for Regional Development

Czech municipalities have requested the Ministry for Regional Development for 550 million crowns to complement projects co-financed by European Union funds. On Sunday the ministry's spokesman Petr Dimun told Czech news agency CTK, however, that only 90 million in funds were available. The Ministry for Regional Development is the only ministry to support such individual projects, with 746 getting the green light from a total of 801. According to Mr Dimun most municipalities are interested in increasing tourism, second is improving infrastructure. Developing programmes for improving human resources come third. Funds are also needed, for example, for reconstructing historic buildings and modernising ski trails and bicycle paths. The area of Karlovy Vary in west Bohemia, and Usti in the north are two regions that have asked for the most financial support.

Forecast

Monday is expected to see a slight improvement in the weather: cloudy but with sunny intervals. Daytime temperatures should reach 16 degrees Celsius.

25-04-2004