Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has announced that the Czech ruling coalition would seek a vote of confidence in the lower house of parliament. The decision was made after Mr Spidla's three-party centre-left coalition failed to give its candidate enough support during Friday's presidential elections. Rebel coalition members switched sides to join opposition MPs in electing Vaclav Klaus in the final round of balloting. Speaking to journalists on Monday, Mr Spidla said it was not clear when the vote of confidence would be held. While newly elected President Vaclav Klaus has welcomed the decision, experts say the move is too risky as the coalition only has a one-vote majority in the 200-seat lower house.
Czech President-elect Vaclav Klaus began his first week in office on Monday with the building of a presidential staff, which should be in place before his formal inauguration ceremony on Friday. Mr Klaus has also expressed hope to strengthen the presidential powers by overhauling the Central Bank's governing board, appointing new court judges and getting involved in the preparations for the country's referendum on EU enlargement in June.
The Czech State Veterinary Authority has banned all imports of poultry from the Netherlands, following the outbreak of a flu epidemic among the fowl. According to the authority's spokesman Josef Duben, the ban applies to all kinds of poultry as well as poultry products, with the exception of thermally processed foods. The EU member states have adopted similar precautionary measures as, like other viral diseases, the poultry flu can be transmitted to humans.
The Czech Republic has opened an honorary consulate in the city of Douala in Cameroon. The state which is situated in western Africa, has generally enjoyed stability allowing it to develop its agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. With bilateral relations close to non-existent, the Czech government hopes to expand business and cultural relations, while Cameroon expects to attract a significant amount of Czech tourists.
Results of a recent study made by the Centre for Public Opinion Research less than four months before the country's referendum on EU membership is scheduled to take place, suggest that 56 percent of Czechs feel they have not been given enough information on what EU membership would entail. Despite these statistics, the number of Czechs in support of the country's accession to the EU has increased by 14 percent since October to reach 69 percent.
The Czech government has decided to release 300 million crowns out of the state budget to finance the country's contribution to the Expo 2005, which will be held in the Japanese prefecture of Aichi. The sum alloted for the next exposition was expected to be twice as much but had to be cut down due to high costs following the devastating floods in August. From March to September, the Expo 2005 will be dedicated to the protection of the environment with the main theme called "Beyond Development: Rediscovering Nature's Wisdom".
Tuesday has been forecast with partially cloudy skies and scattered showers throughout the country. Temperatures will reach a maximum of 7 degrees Celsius.
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