In the News 30.3.09

The end of government as we know it in the ČR

Written by Naďa Straková
Aktuálně.cz CzechNews


A SORRY SIGHT. It is the end of the government as we know it. But nobody really feels fine in this case.

PM Topolánek wants to finish the EU Presidency and have the snap election as early as September but opposition leader Jiří Paroubek wants defense minister Ivan Langer out and the election in October. Who will get his way?

Despite the fact that the EU “has full trust that the national constitutional law allows for the Czech Republic to continue conducting the Council Presidency as effectively as it has done until now”, most of the EU leaders could not hide being disillusioned.

How did it all happen? First of all, it is noteworthy to mention that the Czech political culture is characterized by defectors, in other words Czech MPs like to change their mind as often as they desire, sometimes only because of troubled personal relations.

It so happened that in the no-confidence vote four rebel MPs voted together with the Social Democrats and the Communists against the ruling coalition, which consists of the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Greens. And Topolánek was toppled.


IN THE SPOTLIGHT AGAIN. Now it seems like president Klaus gets another fifteen minutes of fame. It is primarily up to him what he is going to do. Aktuálně.cz readers had a chance to ask the president’s head of the political department what the president’s next steps will be.

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Being a professional, he has not said much but he did talk about a number of things, including his hair disappearing under the influence of gravitation and time.

Speculation runs rife whether it will be Mirek Topolánek forming the new cabinet, or someone who could make sure the Lisbon Treaty will not be ratified.


SOME FEAR, SOME FEAR NOT. In a romantic chateau of Hluboká nad Vltavou at a two-day meeting of EU foreign ministers, some fretted about the Czech political crisis, some did not.

Ireland and the Czech Republic are among the few in the EU still to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, with Ireland being scheduled to throw another plebiscite at a date yet to be announced.

Now some (perhaps more than that) fear that Topolánek’s toppled government and its subsequent failure to ratify the treaty could make the Irish to reconsider their own ratification.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn believes that “there will certainly be problems with the date fixed with the Irish for a referendum,” if the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified by Czech Parliament.

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But Irish European Affairs minister voiced his confidence over the Irish, allegedly this time trusting the Treaty.

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COME WHAT COME MAY. In just a few days the US President Barack Obama will make the whole city of Prague “closely watched” by police.

According to the Herald Tribune, Obama plans a “major speech on nuclear proliferation during a stop in the Czech Republic.”

Only few more days to go and the organizers still do not know where he will give that major speech.


IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE DUMPLINGS. Not all ministers enjoyed their stay in Hluboká, a traditional weekend trip destination.

Denmark’s foreign minister was hospitalized after he was not feeling well. Per Stig Moeller was taken to the local hospital in České Budějovice and later released since he was “doing fine”, as said by Moeller’s spokesman, Klaus Werner.

No specifics were given what was wrong with the poor minister. It could have been the south Bohemian cuisine, which is known for being the “heaviest”, and as my friend from Budějovice tells me: “You never say No to the southerners and eat everything on the plate.”

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NOT SO CLOSE TO THE WATER. A European Union court upheld a ruling denying Anheuser-Busch Inbev the right to register the Budweiser name as a trade mark in the EU.

Translated into practice – the Czech Republic can keep selling Budvar in the EU countries under the name the Budweiser. It can hardly be called a victory, though since we all know that there is a huge difference between Anheuser Busch Bud and České Budějovice Bud and Budvar fans will always know where to buy it (under whatever name). But it is good to know the EU judges think the same way. 

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