Press Review

It's time now on Radio Prague for Press Review and as Vladimir Tax has discovered, the headlines in the Czech daily newspapers are dominated by the election of Hana Marvanova as the leader of the right-of-centre opposition Freedom Union party.

Yes, that's right. In its front page editorial, LIDOVE NOVINY highlights that fact that Hana Marvanova is the first female leader of a political party represented in parliament. Marvanova would like to introduce a feminine aspect to Czech politics, accentuating cooperation and openness. But, LIDOVE NOVINY writes, this is going to be an extremely difficult task in the Czech Republic's masculine political environment, which is aggressive and full of rivalry.

PRAVO carries an interview with the newly elected leader of the Freedom Union party, Hana Marvanova. She says she would prefer a coalition of right-wing parties after elections. However, she doesn't rule out cooperation with the Social Democrats as well, on the condition that they agree to reducing the tax burden.

Elsewhere, PRAVO comments on the paradoxes of the policies of the main opposition Civic Democratic Party and its leader, Vaclav Klaus. On the one hand, Mr Klaus questions European integration, but on the other he does not offer any alternative. While he criticizes the minority Social Democrat government for increasing the national debt, his party's MPs have voted in favor of deficit budgets in the past two years.

On a different note now, and MLADA FRONTA DNES reports that support for EU expansion to the East has been weakening in the current EU member states. No-one has managed to persuade the general public that enlargement is necessary and useful, the paper writes, and adds that this might be the biggest obstacle the former Soviet Bloc countries face in trying to join the European Union.

ZEMSKE NOVINY writes that Czech farmers expect an extraordinarily high yield of corn this year. However, according to the paper, they have no reason to rejoice, as the surplus on the supply side is expected to reduce prices by up to 25 percent. Farmers are therefore calling on Agriculture Minister Jan Fencl to increase export quotas, so that they can sell the surplus corn on foreign markets.

HOSPODARSKE NOVINY comments on the latest blockade of Czech-Austrian border crossings by Austrian anti-nuclear activists. The paper criticizes the fact that the activists had no qualms over breaking political agreements, and the law, in order to attract media attention.