The Interior Minister, Stanislav Gross, has said he might stand for the post of Social Democrat chairman at the party's regular convention next year. Mr Gross, who is deputy chairman of the Social Democrat party, said so at a conference of the party's Central Bohemian branch in Prague on Saturday in response to the words of its head, Richard Dolejs. Mr Dolejs said that Stanislav Gross should become party head in the spring next year in which case the Social Democrats could win the 2006 regular general election. Mr Gross refused to comment on the matter further. The Social Democrat chairman, Vladimir Spidla, said he was prepared to face any challengers at next year's party conference.
At the Saturday conference, the Central Bohemian branch of the Social Democrats also agreed on candidates for upcoming regional and Senate elections. The delegates also nominated former MP and party deputy chairman Karel Machovec as the party's candidate for the post of Governor of Central Bohemia.
High winds have hit the whole of the Czech Republic, reaching hurricane force in the Krusne hory Mountains. The Czech Weather Office reported that the speed of a gust recorded on top of Fichtelberg Mountain was 144 kilometres per hour. Fallen trees halted railway traffic in some areas but no injuries have been reported. Meteorologists say high winds should last until Monday.
Two extortionists, 24-year-old Jakub Ziguska and 24-year-old Pavel Steidl received six-year prison terms on Friday from a local court in Liberec, north Bohemia. The two men had been found guilty of trying to extort 10 million crowns form the Czech police force last June, threatening to poison drinking water in the North Bohemian region. Both men were captured by police when they tried to pick up the money at a pre-arranged drop-off point. The judge presiding over the two men's cases said on Friday she had taken into consideration the seriousness of the crime but also the two men's youth and certain naïveté. The two men had been facing sentences of up to 15 years in prison.
The Czech Republic took a 2-1 lead against Spain in their Davis Cup World Group first round tie after Saturday's doubles match in the Moravian capital of Brno. In Saturday's doubles Czechs Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek beat Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.
Temperatures should drop on Sunday to lows of minus four degrees Celsius. The expected daytime maximum will be plus three degrees in South Moravia. The day should be partly cloudy with occasional snow.
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