News Friday, JUNE 12th, 1998

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Radio Prague E News Written / Read by: Pauline Newman Date: 12.6.98

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm Pauline Newman first let's take a look at the main headlines of the day:

You are tuned to Radio Prague, those were the headlines, now let's take a look at the main stories of the day:

Klaus / Poll

Former Czech Premier and current Chairman of the Civic Democratic Party, Vaclav Klaus has emerged with the best results from a pre- election opinion poll carried out in Prague. Thursday's poll showed that if elections to the Czech Parliament were to take place this week, Vaclav Klaus would gain 42 percent of the vote, which is a seven percent increase from last week. Today is the last day that opinion polls may be carried out prior to the elections.

Vaclav Klaus was attacked on Thursday afternoon, during a pre- election meeting in Prague, by a member of the public. The ODS leader was hit in the face by a flying egg as he stepped out of his car to attend the meeting.

Although Vaclav Klaus laughed the attack off, saying every politician should at least once have an egg thrown at him, he was quick to blame his main rival Social democrat leader Milos Zeman, whom Klaus believes to be fermenting the kind of political atmosphere which led to the attack.

Trade Unions / Protest

Trade Unions say they intend to continue strike action after the elections, regardless of which party wins or how unstable the Czech political scene may be.

Union Spokesman Petr Simerka said on Thursday afternoon, that the organisation intends to assert its demand for a wage increase of 20 percent. He did not say what form, or when the protests would place, adding that the Unions are not planning any more action before the election, such as Monday morning's hour long strike.

Although the Social Democrats, who are likely to win the elections, back the Unions, experts say that a sudden pay increase is unlikely to take place.

Coalition / Combinations

The debate continues around possible political combinations following the election results. Deputy Chairman of the opposition Social Democrats Vladimir Spidla said on Thursday that a coalition between his leftist party and the centre right Civic Democratic Party would not lead to stability. He said that he expects the post election period in the Czech Republic to lead to very complicated negotiations.

His words come after Deputy Chairwoman of the Party Petra Buzkova said on Wednesday, that although a coalition of this kind would be "unfortunate" she does not rule it out completely. She believes that in order to carry out the Social Democrat programme, which she called "a priority", it may be necessary to work with a party the Social Democrats have in the past rejected. Party Chairman Milos Zeman has refused to speculate or comment on Mrs Buzkova's statements.

In the meantime Josef Lux, leader of the Christian Democrats has been speaking about a grand coalition between his party, the Social Democrats and the Freedom Union. He commented on Thursday that this is the only viable solution to the problem of creating a government after the elections. He said:

"This would be a coalition, which would not need the support of the communists. The Christian Democrats would temper any drastic leftist tendencies in the Social democrats". Mr Lux did not however, comment on the long term animosity between the leader of the Freedom Union Jan Ruml and Milos Zeman.

Mig-21 Collision / Radio activity

The inhabitants of the housing estate in Ceske Budejovice, where two military jets collided in mid air, on Monday, say they fear radioactivity as a result of the accident.

An air force spokesman said on Thursday that many people are afraid to move back to their flats because they fear a radio active leak from the planes. However, he assured people that they have no reason for concern, since the Mig-21's do not contain any materials which could have increased radioactivity in the area.

The accident happened in the early hours of Monday morning. The two Czech air force jet fighters collided, showering wreckage over the housing estate in the southern city. People were forced to leave their homes after their blocks of flats were damaged.

And we end as usual with a quick look at the weather:

Friday will see more of the cooler weather we've had over the last few days. Temperatures will range from 14 to 18 degrees celsius. There will be a slight wind, bringing with it the possibility of showers in the north and west.

I'm Pauline Newman and that's the end of the news.