News Monday, JULY 13th, 1998

Radio Prague E-News, July 13, 1998, Vladimir Tax

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

These are the main points and now the news in more detail.

Havel does not like ODSSD deal

President Vaclav Havel does not like the wording and contents of the deal between the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats, he told Czech TV Prima on Sunday. Nevertheless, he will act exactly according to the constitution and most likely appoint as next premier Social Democrat leader Milos Zeman.

In the president's opinion, the agreement the two strongest parties concluded is not against the constitution because it is not a legal act but a political agreement, however, it may contain an intent to act against the spirit of the constitution.

Havel pointed out that theoretically, the agreement means that decades might pass before anyone is able to initiate a vote of no- confidence in the cabinet.

The president said he will ask legal experts to assess the agreement but regardless of the result, he will appoint Milos Zeman prime minister before the 22nd of July, when he is due to undergo surgery.

Paranoic Havel (?)

Again president Havel: as he said in an interview with TV Prima on Sunday, there have been voices within the Civic Democratic Party calling for his removal. Havel said he heard from an unnamed source that the Senate would accuse him of treason and ask the Constitutional court to remove him. Under the Constitution, the president can be tried for treason at the Constitutional court upon the Senate's appeal.

Havel said he could observe a certain unease and nervousness connected with his presence on the scene among the Social and Civic democrats. He thinks these parties consider him a mysterious creature who opts for non-standard and unexpected solutions.

Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus refused to comment on the issue, while his deputy Miroslav Macek said Vaclav Havel's allegations were absurd and said that a medical term for this was paranoia. And Social Democrat leader Milos Zeman termed Vaclav Havel's fears a political joke.

Zeman: president must appoint my ministers

The Social Democrat leader and the most likely next premier is convinced that the constitution does not give the president the right to reject a candidate for a ministerial post.

Mr. Zeman said in Sunday's debate with Christian Democrat chairman Josef Lux on TV Nova that he understood president Havel wants to have detailed information about future cabinet members but pointed out that the president does not have the right of veto in cases of individual ministers. According to observers, president Havel, who wanted to be consulted about individual ministers, does not trust Social Democrat candidates for the posts of ministers of foreign affairs and interior, Jan Kavan and Vaclav Grulich.

Milos Zeman is convinced that under the constitution, the president must appoint ministers that the premier proposes whether he likes them or not.

However, Mr. Lux came back with the opinion that the president not only has the right, but the obligation to demand information about future ministers because he is the head of state and is responsible for the cabinet.

Havel: communists must rename themselves first

If the Communist Party changed its name, president Havel would not hesitate to invite the party's representatives to political talks. In his Sunday interview on TV Prima, Havel said he would meet with the communists very soon after they renamed the party.

So far, president Havel has always excluded the communists from talks and meetings with political representatives but after the elections, he hinted that he might change his stance.

Pilip: ODS may have problems supporting CSSD

Finance minister Ivan Pilip of the Freedom Union told journalists on Sunday that under the deal with the Social Democrats, the Civic Democratic Party will probably have to support government actions it doesn't agree with. He pointed out that the agreement states which party will hold which official posts, but contains not a word about government policy. This might pose a problem for the Civic Democrats, he went on, because they will be bound to support even things that run counter to their political programme.

Pilip noted that Czech citizens will have a chance to express their view of the agreement between the two strongest parties in the senate and local administration elections this autumn.

Novotna wins Czech Open

Jana Novotna, the 29-year-old world number two seed who won the Wimbledon women's final last weekend, has won the Czech Open women's tennis tournament after beating Sandrine Testud of France in the final on Sunday. Novotna beat Testud in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. Today we should enjoy a warm and sunny weather with temperatures up to 29 degrees Celsius, but the skies may cloud over towards the evening. Tuesday and Wednesday should be again cold and cloudy, with scattered showers, and afternoon highs around 20 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.