News Thursday, MAY 07th, 1998

Radio Prague E News Written / Read by: Pauline Newman Date: 7.5.98

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

Those were the headlines, you are tuned to Radio Prague, now let's take a look at the news in full...

Havel / Prague

Czech President Vaclav Havel left an Austrian hospital on Wednesday afternoon to return to Prague, three weeks after undergoing emergency surgery.

He was flown to Prague by air ambulance, accompanied by his wife and aides. Vaclav Havel appeared weak but was able to board the aircraft on his own.

The President was visited before his departure from Innsbruck University hospital, by his Austrian counterpart, Thomas Klestil.

Although the President signed the promotions of seven Czech generals on Monday, all his engagements have been cancelled until the end of May. His doctors say he will probably have to spend another ten days or so in hospital.

Upon landing in Prague and being greeted by Premier Josef Tosovsky and other officials, Vaclav Havel was taken straight to an army hospital in Prague. A team of Czech doctors are meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss the President's further course of treatment.

Zeman / Ruml

Czech Opposition Leader Milos Zeman has accused Former Interior Minister Jan Ruml of having conspired with President Havel to topple the last government led by Vaclav Klaus.

Mr Zeman, however, has found little support among the ranks of his own party.

MP Pavel Dostal told a left wing newspaper on Wednesday, that he is dismayed at Mr Zeman's behaviour and concerned that the social democrat leader is continuously making the same mistakes.

Head of the Social Democrat Deputies Club, Stanislav Gross said that he would rather have known of the allegations before Mr Zeman made them public and said many party members had been taken completely by surprise.

A political expert said on Wednesday afternoon, that Mr Zeman's behaviour is extremely unfortunate and ill-timed. He said that it could affect the development of political culture in this country and shake people's faith in the system.

This is not the first time, Mr Zeman has claimed to have documents incriminating his political opponents. He has not however, ever been proven correct and is now trying to back out of the limelight he has created, claiming he was only doing his duty and that the documents could well be fakes.

Italian / Czech

Italian MP's currently visiting Prague, say their Parliament could ratify the Czech Republic's entry to NATO within eight weeks.

Following talks on Wednesday with the Czech Parliament's Foreign Committee, MP Achille Occhetto said the Italian government was in favour of expanding the alliance. He also emphasized the importance of integrating more states into the European Union. According to Occhetto, this will strengthen European political institutions and create a counterbalance to the European Central bank.

On Thursday, the Italian delegation is set to meet with Chairman of Parliament Milos Zeman and officials from the Foreign ministry.

Survey / popularity

A media survey carried out has revealed that 18,3 percent of Czechs, would like to see former Premier and leader of the Civic Democratic Party, Vaclav Klaus back at the head of the next government.

Current Premier Josef Tosovsky received 2,7 percent less, the survey showed that he has lost 11 percent from the beginning of the year.

Leader of the opposition Milos Zeman who has been tipped as likely winner for next Premier, would according to this survey receive only 6,7 percent of the vote.

Republicans / Campaign

The Czech far-right Republicans have fired the opening shots in the campaign for June's election. They have begun with controversial posters denouncing NATO membership and the Czech Romany community.

All other parliamentary parties saying they were too strapped for cash, agreed three months ago, not to use billboards in the campaign for the June 19th to 20th vote.

Some analysts say the republicans who won eight percent of the vote in the 1996 election, may be setting the agenda and could pick up extra votes with their posters which are plastered nationwide.

However, political expert and Presidential aide Jiri Pehe believes there is no prospect of the Republicans gaining more than ten percent of the vote in June. He also ruled out the possibility of a surge in support for the far-right. He said: "This is not a party which has a comprehensive programme, it is a political show, a political circus".

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

Thursday will see a cloudy, overcast start to the day, with the possibility of showers in the north towards the afternoon. Temperatures during the day will range from 15 to 19 degrees celsius, dropping overnight to as low as 4 degrees celsius.

I'm Pauline Newman and that's all from the newsroom this hour.