News Sunday, MAY 30th, 1999

Hello and welcome to the programme. I´m Rob Cameron, first a look at the news headlines.

Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.

Kasal elected chairman of Christian Democrats

The acting chairman of the opposition Christian Democrats, Jan Kasal, has been elected as the party´s new leader. Kasal received 181 of the 302 votes cast, at a vote at the party´s national conference in Èeské Budejovice in South Bohemia. His rival Cyril Svoboda won 121 votes. The former head of the party, Josef Lux, told delegates that the Christian Democrats should work towards forming a majority coalition government with the ruling Social Democrats and the right-wing opposition Freedom Union. At the same time he suggested the party should not enter a centre-right coalition with the Freedom Union and the main opposition Civic Democratic Party, the ODS. Lux, who resigned as party chairman in September after being diagnosed with leukaemia, harshly criticised the ODS, saying the party represented values which ran counter to a modern European civic society. The Christian Democrats, who enjoy strong support in rural areas, would be crucial to the formation of a majority coalition government. Analysts say the Czech Republic badly needs a majority government to tackle the severe economic problems facing the country.

Havel recuperating at presidential chateau

President Vaclav Havel is convalescing at the presidential chateau in Lany, West Bohemia, after being released from a Prague hospital on Friday. Havel spent one week in hospital suffering from bronchitis. A spokesman said that Havel, who has been under close medical supervision after a series of serious illnesses, would probably resume his official duties on June the seventh. Havel's doctor Ilja Kotik told reporters on Friday that the 62-year-old president was still showing some signs of the illness and would continue to receive antibiotics until Sunday. Havel, a former chain smoker, has been plagued by chest infections in recent years. The president has also suffered severe abdominal problems and nearly died last year when his large intestine ruptured while on holiday.

Anti-NATO demonstration ends in scuffle with police

An anti-NATO demonstration outside the headquarters of the Czech Army in Prague ended in scuffles on Saturday as police tried to remove demonstrators who were blocking the entrance to the building. Approximately one hundred demonstrators had gathered outside the Czech Army headquarters to protest against NATO´s bombing of Yugoslavia. The demonstration was organised by the Union of Communist Youth and other radical left-wing organisations.


And finally a quick look at the weather. And Sunday will remain a mostly hot and sunny day, with temperatures expected to reach as high as 30 degrees Celsius in places. There will be more cloud than Saturday, however, with the possibility of thunderstorms in some parts of the country.

And that brings us to the end of the news.