News of Radio Prague
Havel meets Coalition leaders
The Czech President Vaclav Havel met leaders of the two-party Coalition on Friday. The head of the Christian Democrats, Cyril Svoboda, and the leader of the Freedom Union, Hana Marvanova, assured Mr Havel that their coalition will not split up before the June election, nor afterwards. They said they were prepared to form a government together or stay together in opposition. Formerly, the two parties were members of a four-party coalition which disintegrated earlier this year.
Tvrdik sums up year in office
The Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik has said his ministry is still in a critical state but positive changes have started. Mr Tvrdik resumed the office a year ago from Vladimir Vetchy and he was delegated by Prime Minister Milos Zeman to reorganise the army with the aim of making it fully professional. Minister Tvrdik said that the reforms have been successful so far, as has Czech participation in NATO assignments. Mr Tvrdik criticised the ministry for failing to investigate the case of faulty aircraft altimeters and described the transfer of armoured personnel vehicles to Radio Free Europe headquarters in Prague as scandalous. Three of the four vehicles broke down on the way to Radio Free Europe.
Czech soldiers to participate in UN peacekeeping units
Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik has also said the ministry is considering the detachment of several hundred infantry for UN peacekeeping units. Currently, Czech soldiers are participating in a NATO mission in Kosovo as part of the KFOR unit. An anti-chemical unit is taking part in the US-led "Enduring Freedom" operation in Kuwait and a military field hospital is being transferred to Afghanistan.
Czech citizens abroad show low interest in election
Czech citizens living abroad who wish to cast their votes in this year's parliamentary elections have to register at Czech embassies and consulates by Sunday, May 5th. Embassy officials say that only a few hundred people have registered so far and no major changes are expected by Sunday. The largest number of Czechs has registered in neighbouring Slovakia where just 200 people wish to vote. Czech diplomats agree that people are less interested in this year's general election than Czech authorities expected. According to unofficial estimates there are about 70,000 Czech citizens living abroad and many have criticised the fact that they have to travel to distant embassies rather than cast their votes by post.
Friday night is expected to be clear with temperatures between 15 and 11 degrees Celsius. Saturday should be overcast with rain and isolated thunderstorms in the western part of the country and daytime temperatures ranging from 24 to 28 degrees Celsius. Sunday is expected to be cloudy and rainy with maximum temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius.