A Week in Politics

Hello and welcome to part two of A Week in Politics Greatest Hits - a round up of the programmes I've produced for this series over the last six months or so. In the following ten minutes I'll be bringing you a condensed digest of the best of A Week in Politics - and what better place to start than Prague Castle, seat of the Czech President. November 1999 was the tenth anniversary of the Velvet Revolution - the bloodless transition from communism to democracy in Czechoslovakia. At the head of that transition stood a dissident playwright named Vaclav Havel, and last November Mr Havel, now President Havel, invited a few close friends over for a chat...

A few weeks after Mrs Thatcher's triumph in Prague, the Social Democrat Prime Minister Milos Zeman found himself quoting one of her greatest influences: Yes, Mr Zeman found himself fighting a new battle in December, not the Battle of Britain this time but the Battle of the Budget. The controversial 'Opposition Agreement' with Vaclav Klaus's right-of-centre Civic Democrats was supposed to guarantee support for Mr Zeman's minority government and the proposals it submitted to parliament. Well, he wasn't getting much support in December, when Mr Klaus's party refused to support the Social Democrats' draft budget. I asked commentator Vaclav Zak to explain what the Civic Democrats thought they could achieve by threatening to sink the government over the budget. Well - as it happens - after a bit of sabre-rattling, the budget was passed and those changes to the electoral law were eventually approved by the Senate last week, although President Havel has since refused to sign the bill. The Chamber of Deputies, which is controlled by the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats, now have to overrule his veto. Stay tuned to Radio Prague to find out what happens next.

And finally, rounding up this programme, and indeed the whole series - the Czech Interior Ministry recently decided to clear up the confusion surrounding the controversial new foreigner's law by translating it and placing it on the Internet. Unfortunately most of us foreigners were left scratching our heads over the ministry's rather convoluted English. I'll leave you with a taste of that law in a minute, but before I go I'd like to say thanks for listening, take care, and have a good summer.