News Tuesday, JULY 14th, 1998

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Radio Prague E News Date: 14.7.98 Written / read by: Pauline Newman

Hello and a very warm welcome to the programme. You are tuned to Radio Prague, I'm Pauline Newman, first let's take a look at the main headlines of the day:

Those were the headlines, now let's take a look at the news in more detail...

Zeman / Government

Social Democrat chief Milos Zeman, who is most likely to become the next Czech Premier, spoke about the set up of his future government on Monday. He said that he is considering the possibility of four deputy chairmen as well as a similar number of ministers to the previous government. He mentioned that one of these ministers will most likely be non-affiliated. "The Social Democrats will certainly not overdo the number of government members" he said on Monday afternoon, adding that this would only be a "bad start". According to Zeman, each deputy Chairman will be responsible for one important area, such as the economy, social affairs, legislation and national security. He also said that his government would strive for integration into Europe as well as to put an end to the housing shortage in the Czech republic. Milos Zeman asked for the usual 100 days in which to set up the government.

Unions / Meeting

The Trade Unions are set to meet on Tuesday to decide what their next step will be in their battle to see wages increased for civil servants in the Czech Republic. A spokeswoman said on Tuesday morning that since a new Social Democrat government is likely to be named and sworn in within the next few weeks, the Unions need to decide what their approach will be. The Social Democrat party has in the past said it supports Union demands, which call for a pay hike in public sector wages. The Unions began by taking action on the 8th June, with an hour long strike. When it became apparent they had not convinced Josef Tosovsky's government to negotiate, they decided to wait until after the elections to continue to assert their demands.

Svoboda / Police

Outgoing Minister of the Interior Cyril Svoboda, surprised journalists at a press conference on Monday, by admitting that police did make mistakes when they dealt with the demonstrations in May on the streets of Prague. Referring to the event known as Global Street Party, when riots broke out in the Czech capital, Svoboda said police behaviour had left something to be desired as far as organisation and approach to people on the streets was concerned. His words come after police dismissed accusations in May, from innocent bystanders caught up in the demonstration, of unnecessary violence. Svoboda said the Ministry was preparing a report on the matter, which would be handed over to the cabinet on the 24th July.

Tosovsky / Praised

Economists and analysts agreed on Monday afternoon that the outgoing government of Josef Tosovsky helped stabilise the Czech economy. Tosovsky, who stepped in as Premier, last November when Vaclav Klaus's government collapsed, was at the time, Governor of the Czech National bank. Analysts say his work and that of his cabinet, was very effective given its short mandate. A prominent official from the IPB bank said the cabinet had worked towards achieving results and had been committed to a sensible approach instead of trying to score political points. Others praised the acceleration of privatisation and programmes supporting foreign investment in the Czech Republic.

Screening / Ministers

Social Democrat MP and security specialist Jaroslav Basta said on Monday that it would be a good idea to screen members of the next government. He said that although not legally required, it would bring everything out into the open. Basta made this statement after Christian Democrat chief Josef Lux said on Sunday that candidates for ministerial posts should fill in detailed questionnaires on their contacts with the intelligence service, property relations and personal affairs. Basta's proposal comes at a time, when there is much controversy surrounding the candidature of Social Democrat MP Vaclav Grulich, who wants to become the next interior minister. Grulich maintains that the President's office is against his candidature because of his alleged suspect contacts with Russian diplomats.

ODS / Havel

ODS Senator Premysl Sobotka says he is insulted by President Vaclav Havel's allegations of a plot in the Civic Democratic Party, to have him removed from office. Sobotka told journalists on Monday that the President is undermining stability within the Czech Republic with statements of this kind. Members of the ODS have in the meantime called the allegations absurd and Social Democrat leader Milos Zeman called them "a political anecdote". ODS leader Vaclav Klaus has not made any comment on the matter at all.

Advisor to the Czech President, Jiri Pehe confirmed on Monday afternoon, that Vaclav Havel did check that the proposals calling for his removal were authentic. According to Mr Pehe, the President made sure this information was correct before he made his announcement on Sunday. Vaclav Havel told Prima television station in an interview, that he had heard the Senate would accuse him of treason and try to have him removed from office. Jiri Pehe said on Monday that Vaclav Havel has not disclosed his source but added that since the President maintains he has the information first hand, he must be fairly sure it is authentic.

Students / Moravia

Finally, young people from all over the world and from all walks of life, are currently taking part in a summer camp in Moravia, called "Contact with the Czech Republic". Students from Japan, Canada, Spain, Greece, Germany and Finland to name but a few countries, are taking part in sorting out the chaos left over after last year's catastrophic flooding on the Slovak - Moravian border. They will be helping people improve local transport links and build shelters over the next few weeks.

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

A warm front moving towards the Czech Republic, means that the weather on Tuesday will similar to Monday's. Skies will become cloudy and overcast however as the day continues, with temperatures ranging from 18 to 22 degrees celsius. There will also be a possibility of rain overnight in some areas, with temperatures dropping to 16 degrees celsius.

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