Press Review

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All today's newspapers report on the split of the Coalition of Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union. The two parties, which have just formed a new government with the Social Democrats, said they will go into the senate elections in the autumn separately. The Coalition no longer exists, Pravo quotes a Freedom Union representative. However, the parties WILL stay side by side in the government.

All today's newspapers report on the split of the Coalition of Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union. The two parties, which have just formed a new government with the Social Democrats, said they will go into the senate elections in the autumn separately. The Coalition no longer exists, Pravo quotes a Freedom Union representative. However, the parties WILL stay side by side in the government.

All the papers also carry photos of the most wanted man in Slovakia - the former head of the Slovak intelligence service, Ivan Lexa, arriving in Bratislava. Under the headline "Meciar's Chief Spy arrested", Mlada fronta Dnes writes that the right-hand-man of infamous former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar fled to South Africa, but the country extradited him to Slovakia, where he is facing trial for serious crimes, including kidnapping of the president's son, sabotage, and fraud.

Elsewhere, Mlada fronta Dnes carries an interview with the leader of the opposition Civic Democratic Party, a Prime Minister in the mid-1990's, and speaker of the Lower House of Parliament over the past four years, Vaclav Klaus. Several times throughout the full-page interview, Mr. Klaus repeats that his party's failure in the elections and the number of people who dislike him is a result of a well-orchestrated political campaign against him and behind- the-scene manipulations. However, he does not suggest who stands behind them.

Mr. Klaus, a fierce opponent of European integration, does not consider it paradoxical that he wants to become a member of the Czech Parliament's delegation to the EU parliament. "Our membership of the EU is inevitable but I will never stop criticizing it," he tells the paper. When asked about the potential presidential candidates to replace outgoing Vaclav Havel, Mr. Klaus says some of the names horrify him. He humbly admits that he himself would be a good president.

Lidove noviny leads with a report on how the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is planning to raise awareness of and win support for the country's accession to the EU among the population. The new foreign minister Cyril Svoboda told the paper the cost of pre-accession publicity should exceed 100 million CZK.

A massive information campaign should peak about three months before a referendum on joining the EU, with advertisements in radio, television and press, as well as explanatory booklets distributed to all Czech households. Svoboda is quoted as saying he would be happy if EU accession is approved in a referendum by any margin, even it was just 1 percent.

And finally, Pravo spoke to the director of the Hydro-meteorological institute, Ivan Obrusnik, about the current frequent occurrence of heavy storms and floods. He says the storms that caused the recent flash floods in Moravia, can occur any time anywhere and cannot be forecast because they depend on local geographical conditions.