Press Review

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The major international stories covered by the Czech newspapers today are the parliamentary elections in France and the nightmarish Sunday in Moscow, where football fans demolished shop windows and burned cars after Russia's football team lost to Japan in the World Cup. The domestic pages are dominated by reports and analyses of Sunday's TV duel between the leaders of the two strongest political parties, Social Democrat Vladimir Spidla and Civic Democrat Vaclav Klaus.

The major international stories covered by the Czech newspapers today are the parliamentary elections in France and the nightmarish Sunday in Moscow, where football fans demolished shop windows and burned cars after Russia's football team lost to Japan in the World Cup. The domestic pages are dominated by reports and analyses of Sunday's TV duel between the leaders of the two strongest political parties, Social Democrat Vladimir Spidla and Civic Democrat Vaclav Klaus.

With the general elections just five days away, it's mostly domestic political issues that prevail. On its editorial page, Hospodarske noviny asks why pre-election prognoses are always wrong? It points to the fact that before the last elections, polling agencies predicted that 7 parties would pass the 5 percent threshold and make it into parliament, but 2 of them did not succeed in the end. Predicting the precise result of the general election is nearly impossible.

Polling agencies in the Czech Republic are facing a more complicated situation than their counterparts in the West, writes the paper - first because results from the past 20 years, which could reveal at least the development of voting trends, are not available, and secondly because the general election in this country is held under different conditions each time.

The widely known fact that many respondents don't admit who they are really planning to vote for might play a more important role here. For instance voters who support the Communists often are embarrassed to say so - that's why the Communist party's results are always better than the polls have suggested.

Lidove noviny informs its readers about President Vaclav Havel's interview with the Czech section of Radio Free Europe on Sunday in which the president said that some of the policies being pursued by what Mr Havel calls the 'democratic' parties have been "borrowed" from the smaller extremist parties.

According to the president, this is the price Czechs have to pay for having pushed extremists to the margin of the political spectrum. President Havel says that prejudice and old models of behaviour prevail in Czech society. And that may play into the hands of extremists, Lidove noviny quotes president Havel.

Mlada fronta Dnes carries a mixture of sport and politics in a report on Sunday's football match in which politicians from the two strongest parties - the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats - were playing. The paper writes that the final score of the match - a four-all draw - was a reflection of the two parties policies over the last four years, specifically the 'opposition agreement' - a power-sharing pact, which was strongly criticised by other parties.

And finally, away from politics - today's Pravo reports that the neighbouring Saxony, one of five regions which were part of the former East Germany, is trying to attract Czech doctors. Saxony's social affairs minister herself has expressed the wish that doctors from the former Communist bloc come and settle in Saxony, because local doctors tend to move to Germany's western parts where they receive higher wages, concludes Pravo.