Press Review

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All the Czech newspapers write on their front pages about the weekend's developments around the first government crisis in the Czech Republic after the June elections. Many of them ask if Hana Marvanova, an MP for the governmental Freedom Union party, was faithful to her own principles or simply naive to have voted against her own coalition in a move that triggered the crisis. Commentators agree, however, that it's the Communists who will profit from the current situation.

All the Czech newspapers write on their front pages about the weekend's developments around the first government crisis in the Czech Republic after the June elections. Many of them ask if Hana Marvanova, an MP for the governmental Freedom Union party, was faithful to her own principles or simply naive to have voted against her own coalition in a move that triggered the crisis. Commentators agree, however, that it's the Communists who will profit from the current situation.


Lidove noviny writes that the first politician whom Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla met with in the critical moments was the Communist Party boss Miroslav Grebenicek, and that it was Mr. Grebenicek again who informed the public about Mr. Spidla's intention to create a minority cabinet. The paper notes that already on Saturday, the Communists had a list made of demands which the cabinet should meet in order to get support from them in parliament.

The Social Democrats' political programme is closest to that of the Communists, writes the paper, and some have admitted that the utmost goal for the party is to have its representatives in the government. The party's deputy chairwoman, Zuzka Rujbrova confirmed those ambitions, but told Lidove noviny that 'the time was not ripe yet'. Leader of the Communist group in parliament, Vojtech Filip says, on the other hand, that first they had to evaluate whether Czech society was prepared for the Communists in the government.


"The Social Democrats have knocked former Prime Minister Zeman out of the game," reads a headline in today's Pravo. The paper informs its readers that the Central Executive Committee of the Social Democratic party has decided to carry out a referendum for both party members and the general public, to find a person most suitable to run for the post of president in the presidential elections to be held early next year.

The former Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, has no bigger chance to stand for the post, due to his controversial behaviour on both domestic and international scenes as the Czech Republic's Prime Minister over the past four years, notes Pravo. The Social Democrats intend to nominate their own candidate for the first round of the election, and party leader Vladimir Spidla says it's a matter of just a few weeks.


Mlada fronta Dnes reports on Monday's trial of two high-ranking officials of the former Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, the Czechoslovak Communist party General secretary Milous Jakes and the General secretary of the Slovak Communist party, Jozef Lenart. The two are facing charges of treason. In 1968 they wanted to legalize the Soviet-led invasion by forming a workers government, obedient to Soviet orders.

Although the case has been going on for seven years without any tangible results, the spokesman of the State attorney's office in Prague, Martin Omelka, says this time enough evidence has been collected to make the legal action successful. If it is, both men can be sentenced to life-imprisonment.


And finally, away from politics: the business daily Hospodarske noviny writes about complaints from Prague tram drivers, who say since the floods in August, with the metro system out of order, they have been overloaded with work. The Head of the Tram Drivers' Federation, Antonin Dub, even fears a possible high number of accidents, because the drivers are too tired. Mr. Dub told the paper that the city needed some 300 extra tram drivers, as the present ones work 50 hours a month more than they should.