News Thursday, JULY 09th, 1998

Radio Prague E news Date: July 9th, 1998 Written / read by: Alena Skodova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm AS and we start as usual with the news:

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

Opposition agreement approved

After a debate that lasted several hours, the ODS Executive council has approved the so-called "opposition agreement" between this right wing party and the centre left Social democrats. The ODS Executive council stated that the formation of a stable coalition government comprised of ODS, Christian democrats and the Freedom Union was made impossible by the standpoints of the Christian democrats and the Freedom Union. That's the main reason why the Executive council considers the opposition agreement the only viable solution of the present political situation, the only solution that can bring political stability to our country. The agreement has also been approved by the top leadership of the Social democrats, as it enables them to form a one-colour, minority government. The opposition agreement between the two strongest political parties is to be signed on Thursday and only then will its contents be made public. In a related development ODS chairman Vaclav Klaus told the private radio station Frequence 1 that he intends to form an ODS shadow cabinet.

Havel to appoint Zeman new premier

On Thursday president Vaclav Havel is expected to announce that he will appoint Social democrat leader Milos Zeman premier, after the present government resigns. Zeman, who will visit the president at his residence in Lany near Prague on Thursday, has to guarantee that his minority cabinet will receive support from the strongest right-wing party, the Civic democrats of ex-premier Vaclav Klaus. President Havel's political advisor Jiri Pehe told the CTK news agency that only unexpected events could change the plan.

New parliament meets on July 15th

A constituent meeting of the newly elected Chamber of Deputies will be held on July 15th. The meeting has been called by Social democrat chairman Milos Zeman, because he was the Chamber's speaker in the past election period and was re-elected in the early elections nearly three weeks ago. The consituent parliamentary meeting will include the deputies' oath, election of a speaker and deputy chairmen, and it will also decide what committees the chamber will have. The negotiation order envisages only four committees, while in the last parliament there were 12 of them.

NATO official in Prague

Supreme commander of NATO allied forces in Central Europe Joachim Spiering is in the Czech Republic for a two-day visit. The General has had talks with representatives of the Defence ministry about the Czech Republic's integration into the Alliance's military structures, talked with the Czech army chief of staff Jiri Sedivy, and he also visited the rapid deplyment brigade in Chrudim, which should be - as of the year 2001 - part of the NATO rapid deployment force. If all the NATO countries ratify the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary's membership in the alliance, the three countries will become NATO members in April next year, when the alliance will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding.

And that's the end of the news.