News Friday, JULY 03th, 1998

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Radio Prague E news Date: June 3rd, 1998 Written / read by: Alena Skodova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm AS and here's the headlines:

Those were the main points and now the news in more detail:

Zeman negotiates forming government

Social democrat leader Milos Zeman, whose party topped the polls in the early general election two weeks ago, has been continuing his talks on forming a new government. After talks with Jan Ruml he told journalists that the Freedom Union has definitely refused to negotiate a possible coalition with the Social and Christian democrats. Zeman confirmed that he had submitted to the Freedom Union a proposal by Christian democrat leader Josef Lux, according to which the Union would receive four ministerial posts in a cabinet headed by Lux, and it was not well- received, as Mr. Zeman explained: "After a detailed discussion, during which we talked about the common as well as different aspects of our two parties' programmes, the Freedom Union representatives told me that they had the mandate to reject my offer. This response means that my negotiations with the Freedom Union are finished and I will continue negotiations on forming a cabinet with other parliamentary parties," said Zeman.

Freedom Union leader Jan Ruml, on the other hand, noted that his party came into existence to implement a liberal right-wing policy and nearly 9 percent of the electorate had clearly shown they were in favor of it.

Havel - reaction

Late on Thursday president Vaclav Havel said he expected the Social democrats to break a political impasse by presenting a concrete proposal for a new cabinet within a week. "I'm not losing faith that in the end a sensible, conceptual, energetic and dynamic government with hope for stability will be formed," Havel told reporters after a meeting with Zeman. "Negotiations, according to the schedule, should culminate and finish next week," Havel noted, adding he expects that next Thursday Milos Zeman will come with some basic proposals and answers to basic questions.

Film festival

The 33rd Karlovy Vary film festival begins on Friday evening with the premiere of a new Czech film directed by Vladimir Michalek, "Sekal Has To Die. The film, which will be shown in the Thermal Hotel at this famous spa town, is in the main competition. One of the festival's guests will be popular American actor and producer Michael Douglas. Mr. Douglas will be - during the screening of a Joel Schumacher film he starred in, "Falling Down" - awarded a special prize for his many years' contribution to world cinematography. During the nine day festival, a total of 250 full-length and short films will be shown. The main competition will offer 17 titles, the best of which will be awarded the Crystal Globe and 20 thousand dollars.

Temelin nuclear power plant

Austria on Thursday welcomed the Czech government's decision to hire an independent team of experts to reassess the viability of the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant project, located in South Bohemia near the Austrian border. The cabinet wants the local and foreign experts to recommend whether construction of the Soviet-designed plant, now well over budget and far behind schedule, should be continued, halted temporarily or abandoned. Austrian Minister for consumer protection Barbara Prammer expressed the hope that Austrian experts will be part of the team. The state-controlled Czech power company CEZ has also welcomed the cabinet's desision. "We are glad to hear that it will be an independent team of experts and not friends of Environment minister Bursik who are strongly against nuclear energy," CEZ spokesman Michal Kacena told the CTK news agency.

And that's all from the newsroom.