Czech Republic in 2002: July - September

Czech Republic in 2002: July - September

PRAGUE, Dec 9 (CTK) - The following is a review of major events in the Czech Republic in 2002 from July to September:


3. - The Social Democrats agree with parties of the Coalition of the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Freedom Union-DEU on a joint programme. Parties begin talks on the structure of the new government.

4. - Freedom Union-DEU chairwoman Hana Marvanova resigns from the post. She justifies her decision by her disagreement with the programme of the emerging government.

6.-9. - Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko pay the first ever visit to Prague.

9. - Representatives of the CSSD, KDU-CSL and Freedom Union- DEU sign an agreement on the formation of a coalition government.

10. - The government of Premier Milos Zeman approves the establishment of the Ceske drahy state joint stock company at its last meeting. The company is to function as of January 2003.

11. - Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) becomes chairman of the Chamber of Deputies. He receives 101 votes in the second round of the election and the hitherto chairman Vaclav Klaus receives 74 votes. Jitka Kupcova (CSSD) and Jan Kasal (KDU-CSL) elected Chamber's deputy chairpersons in the first round.

12. - CSSD chairman Vladimir Spidla becomes new Czech premier. Before his appointment President Vaclav Havel accepts the resignation of Zeman's cabinet.

15. - President Vaclav Havel appoints a new 17-member coalition government headed by Premier Vladimir Spidla.

- Igor Nemec (ODS) becomes new Prague mayor. He replaces Jan Kasl who resigned at the end of May.

- Devastating floods in the Blansko region cause damage worth 139 million crowns and death of two elderly women.

16. - Ivan Langer (ODS) and Vojtech Pilip (KSCM) elected Chamber of Deputies deputy chairpersons at first try, Hana Marvanova (US-DEU) at fourth only.

- The Czech Statistical Office publishes final results of a national census which found that 10,230,060 people lived in the Czech Republic as from March 1, 2001.

16.-17. - President Havel cuts short his visit to France due to an illness. He is hospitalised with bronchitis and released from hospital on July 23.

18. - The Chamber of Deputies has a complete seven-member leadership after Miroslava Nemcova (ODS) elected its last deputy chairwoman.

22. - Police inform that a contract killing of Mlada fronta Dnes journalist Sabina Slonkova was being prepared and bring charges against four people. Former Foreign Ministry general secretary Karel Srba is one of the suspects. Former foreign minister Jan Kavan dismisses any connection of his person with the case.

25. - The first ever agreement on relations between the Czech state and the Catholic Church is signed in Prague.

- Prague City Court acquits in appeals hearings former Czechoslovak premier and interior minister under the communist regime Lubomir Strougal who was charged with frustrating the investigation of three members of the StB communist secret police suspected of the murder of three people in the 1960s.


1. Premier Spidla calls on Romanies not to go abroad where most of them fail to obtain asylum. He asks them to participate, together with the government, in solving their problems. Spidla is reacting to mounting attempts by groups of Romanies from Ostrava, north Moravia, to leave for Britain.

5. - The government approves projects which are to prevent growth in the number of Romany asylum seekers. The government intends to cut social benefits for unsuccessful asylum seekers, establish a team to fight against money-lending in the Romany community and support Romany education and employment.

7. - The Chamber of Deputies votes confidence in the coalition government with the votes of all 101 government coalition deputies with 98 deputies of the opposition - the ODS and the KSCM - voting against the motion.

7.-17. - Torrential rains cause the most catastrophic floods in the country's modern history, gradually swelling the Vltava River as well as the Labe River into which the Vltava empties.

The Dyje River in south Moravia and other rivers also burst their banks. The flood wave culminated in Prague on August 14 when the water level in the Vltava River reached its peak. On August 17 the flood wave moved further on to Germany.

- The floods afflicted ten regions with Prague, Central Bohemia, South Bohemia, the Plzen, Karlovy Vary and Usti nad Labem regions being the most severely hit areas. In all, 753 municipalities were affected and about 220,000 people were evacuated. The death toll reached 17. More than one thousand houses were destroyed by the floods with the most tragic consequences being in the villages of Metly, south Bohemia, and Zalezlice, central Bohemia, where most of houses were destroyed or damaged. The overall damage caused to the economy reached 70 billion crowns of which 24-billion-crown in Prague alone. The Spolana chemical plant in Neratovice, central Bohemia, was the most severely hit company as 90 percent of it was inundated. The Prague metro was heavily hit - 25 stations or one half stopped functioning, of which 17 were either flooded or damaged, mostly on the B line.

13. - The government allots 1.15 billion crowns from the state budget to finance flood relief work. Another 500 million crowns are at the disposal in the extra-budgetary Transport Fund designed for the repair of motorways, railways and water transport.

16. - European Commission president Romano Prodi confirms in Prague that the European Union will provide almost 58 million euros in immediate relief to finance the removal of the flood damage.

22. - President Vaclav Havel and his Hungarian and Polish counterparts, Ferenc Madl and Aleksander Kwasniewski, respectively, discuss aid to the removal of the flood damage at a summit of the Visegrad Four presidents in the Castolovice castle, east Bohemia. Slovak President Rudolf Schuster does not attend the summit due to an illness.

23. - Deputies vote consent with the use by the government of 3 billion crowns from this year's extraordinary revenues from the emission of bonds to finance the flood relief work.

- Dangerous chlorine again leaks from Spolana Neratovice.

The first leak was announced by the inundated chemical plant on August 15.

25. - Premier Spidla says in a televised speech that the country has managed to cope with the floods, that it has enough strength for reconstruction and help to afflicted citizens.

29. - EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen discusses the situation after the floods and EU aid in Prague. He visits Prague's most severely hit districts - Karlin, Liben, Mala Strana and the Prague metro.

30. - It is agreed at talks between the finance and labour and social affairs ministers and representatives of the public sector trade unions (ROPO) that civil servants' pay will grow by 7 percent next year, not by 13 percent as planned originally. The saved billions of crowns will go to finance the flood relief work. The education unions refused to join the agreement.


2. - President Vaclav Havel visits villages hit by the floods: Svihov, west Bohemia, and Predmir and Metly, south Bohemia where almost half of houses were razed to the ground by the flood wave. He also visits Stechovice in the Prague-west district.

5. - President Vaclav Havel and Austrian President Thomas Klestil call for a constructive dialogue on Czech-Austrian issues, namely Benes decrees under which Germans were transferred from Czechoslovakia after WWII and the nuclear power plant in Temelin, south Bohemia, at their meeting in Znojmo, south Moravia. They draft a statement which is designed to help close all problematic questions before the Czech Republic's entry to the EU.

10. - Former Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan takes the one- year presidency of the 57th U.N. General Assembly.

13. - The Chamber rejects by the narrowest possible majority the tax measures through which the government intended to generate money to cover the flood damage. The measures were estimated to bring in 10.4 billion crowns in 2003 and 15.5 billion crowns in 2004. The vote of government US-DEU deputy Hana Marvanova proved decisive as she joined the opposition and voted against the bill at variance with the government coalition. The CSSD described her move as a violation of the coalition agreements.

16. - Hana Marvanova (Freedom Union-DEU) resigns as a Chamber of Deputies deputy chairwoman, the reason being the US-DEU reservations about her vote. She does not, however, give up her parliamentary mandate.

17.-24. - President Havel supports U.S. President George Bush in his anti-Iraq effort during his visit to the USA. In New York Havel pays homage to victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and unveils a statue of Czechoslovakia's first president (in office in 1918-35) T.G. Masaryk in the Washington park.

18. - Leading representatives of the CSSD, KDU-CSL and the US-DEU sign a guarantee addendum to their government coalition agreement which ends the government coalition crisis triggered by Marvanova's vote on the government's tax bill. The composition of the government does not change. The parties pledge that all their deputies will support the key government bills in the future.

19. - The Senate passes another two "flood" laws which concern the freezing of the top limit for the calculation of sick benefit and freezing of wages of state officials, judges and state attorneys for next year. The Chamber passes it on September 13.

22. - Fix-line and mobile telephone operates renumber all telephone numbers in the country or 12 million of them. The extent of renumbering is unparallelled in Europe.

23. - The high-ranking representatives of the pre-1989 communist regime, Milos Jakes and Jozef Lenart, are acquitted by the Prague City Court of the charges of treason in connection with the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the former Warsaw Pact troops which crushed the Prague Spring reform movement. The court stated that the prosecution failed to submit convincing proof of their guilt.

24. - A Czech-Thai agreement on the exchange of prisoners takes effect.

25. - The government decides to raise old-age pensions as of January 2003. The average pension will be 7,060 crowns.

27. - The second case of mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, has been detected in the Deblin agricultural cooperative near Brno, south Moravia.

30. - Radio Free Europe (RFE) terminates Czech broadcasts after 52 years.

Czech Republic in 2002: January - March
Czech Republic in 2002: April - June
Czech Republic in 2002: July - September
Czech Republic in 2002: October - December


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