Press Review

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The front pages today are dominated by a photo of two smiling former communist bosses, Jozef Lenart and Milos Jakes, walking free after a Prague court acquitted them of treason charges on Monday. MLADA FRONTA DNES comments on the verdict, saying that after a weeklong trial - and seven years after the charges were first pressed, the court ruled the two men were not to be punished for their activities in August 1968 immediately after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

The front pages today are dominated by a photo of two smiling former communist bosses, Jozef Lenart and Milos Jakes, walking free after a Prague court acquitted them of treason charges on Monday. MLADA FRONTA DNES comments on the verdict, saying that after a weeklong trial - and seven years after the charges were first pressed, the court ruled the two men were not to be punished for their activities in August 1968 immediately after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

PRAVO features an interview with the leader and founder of the Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus. Mr Klaus has been the partys head since its foundation in 1991 and for the first time ever he is facing a realistic chance that he wont be re-elected at the December party conference. Interestingly, Mr Klaus refused to tell the paper whether he intended to run for the party post at all.

On the other hand, MLADA FRONTA DNES carries an interview with Mr Klauss chief potential rival, the governor of the Moravia-Silesia region, Evzen Tosenovsky. Mr Tosenovsky describes his decision to run for the post of party leader as the toughest in his life. He also says its high time the Civic Democrats took a deep breath, started all over again and tried to unite all parties on the Czech political right.

An editorial in LIDOVE NOVINY calls Mr Tosenovskys decision the event of the season. A change is necessary, the author says, and Mr Klaus is unable to change the party - either inside, or on the outside. Mr Tosenovsky is in a difficult position though, says the paper, because local and senate elections are looming and the results may significantly influence the mood within the party in the run up to the conference.

The papers also return to the weekends elections in neighbouring Slovakia and Germany. PRAVO asks a number of Czech politicians across the spectrum about their opinions on the election results. Representatives of the ruling coalition welcome the fact that the red-green coalition in Germany will remain in power and continue with their pro-EU enlargement policy.

The opposition Civic Democrats told PRAVO that they too, welcomed the election results in Germany, saying that good Czech-German relations were of utmost importance. Any government which will foster good neighbourly relations, respect the Czech-German Declaration and not invoke the spirits of the past, is welcome, PRAVO quotes Civic Democrat vice-chairman Jan Zahradil as saying.

Likewise, Czech politicians welcome the pro-European trend in Slovakia which was confirmed by the weekend elections. It is in Czech national interests, says Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus, that Slovakia should continue on its path to integration with the NATO and the European Union. The Communist chairman Miroslav Grebenicek on the other hand is pleased by the fact that the Slovak Communist Party has entered parliament for the first time in the countrys history.