Vladimir Spidla's centre-left coalition has, as expected, survived a vote of no confidence tabled by the opposition Civic Democrats. All but one of the government's 101 deputies voted against the motion in Friday's vote, with rebel Social Democrat Josef Hojdar, who is opposed to planned financial reforms, abstaining. Prime Minister Spidla faces perhaps a sterner test in voting on those reforms, which he wants parliament to approve by Tuesday. The reforms are designed to reverse a record budget deficit and qualify the Czech Republic for the euro currency by 2010. The country is to join the European Union next May.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Deputies committee which oversees the Czech secret service, the BIS, said on Friday it had no evidence that the agency had been keeping MP Josef Hojdar under surveillance. Mr Hojdar said a device used to bug the telephone in his constituency office in Most belonged to the BIS. However, the organisation's chief, Jiri Lang, said it was a cheap device used by private security agencies. The police are currently investigating Mr Hojdar's allegations.
The foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, has said he would like to replace the Czech military field hospital currently deployed in Iraq with police and combat units. Speaking in Friday's edition of the daily Mlada fronta Dnes, Mr Svoboda said he had discussed the idea with senior government figures but would have trouble gaining support for sending Czech fighting forces to Iraq. Parliament has to decide by the end of the year whether to extend the mandate of the Czech field hospital, which is based in Basra.
The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, discussed the future of the European Union and the planned EU constitution during talks with his Polish counterpart Aleksander Kwasniewski in the Czech spa town of Jesenik on Friday. Mr Klaus said afterwards that they had been in almost complete agreement on the need to maintain an inter-governmental system and to resist federalism.
Petrol, diesel, cigarettes and alcohol are to go up in price from next January, after the Chamber of Deputies passed a new law on consumer tax on Friday. The hike will bring Czech consumer taxes into line with those of the European Union, and follows the approval of an increase in value added tax earlier this week.
The future of the 24-year-old Czech footballer Jan Simak is in doubt, after the player failed to turn up for training at his German club Hannover on Wednesday. The daily Sport reported on Friday that Simak had sent a message to the club saying he was retiring from football and planning to open a pub in south Bohemia. Mr Simak, who has one international cap for the Czech Republic, has a history of erratic behaviour.
Saturday should be cloudy with showers in places and a maximum temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. Sunday is expected to be clearer and also 22 degrees.
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