Press Review

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MLADA FRONTA DNES today takes a different angle on the highly publicised upcoming meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Prague. Rather than focusing on the threat of protests, as the wave of recent media and Interior Ministry publicity has done, it turns to the substance of the meeting: namely, the financial organisations themselves. The true items on the agenda of the fall meeting, such as the need for reform of the multinational institutions and their ability to address the problems of developing countries, are beyond the Czech authorities, who prefer to focus on logistical issues and spend their time speculating on the number of expected police officers and protestors, says the daily. The problems the institutions face today are in part those of any large bureaucratic organisation. Nevertheless, there exist serious rebukes over lack of transparency, administrative arrogance and misuse of funds that need to be addressed by all member governments, who are jointly accountable for the organisations' activities. Although in 1944 the exile government of then Czechoslovakia was among the 44 founding members of these institutions, it remains to be seen whether Czech society today can offer competent partners to discuss such issues and shape the future of these organisations, concludes the paper.

PRAVO also finds a way to mention the magic words IMF and the World Bank on its pages today, albeit in connection with another event altogether: a rave held this past weekend in a field near the village of Lipnice. The 60 inhabitants of this small South Bohemian town certainly don't carry the weight of 15,000 international financiers, writes the paper. The latter will have 11,000 police officers protecting them from the surrounding demonstrators, while the former were subjected to the invasion of some 5,000 participants of the unannounced, and thus by PRAVO's deduction "wild", techno party without so much as an attempt at intervention by police. The police's inaction is not a sign of incompetence, however, but of a double standard that sees the peace and security of some citizens worthy of protection while leaving that of residents in a tiny village far from Prague out to dry.

And finally LIDOVE NOVINY stresses the importance of the November regional and Senate elections announced this week by President Havel. Although a hint of illegality will surround the voting, due to the controversial new electoral system passed this June and currently being contested in the Constitutional Court, it will not diminish its importance, says the paper. Regional elections will create the country's first locally elected governments, while the replacing of one-third of the Senate will determine whether the two largest parties, the Social Democrats and their opposition "partner," the Civic Democrats, will have a constitutional or only a simple majority. Both elections will be the first real judgement of the two parties' power-sharing agreement, concludes the paper.