Press Review

Just one day to go before the referendum on the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union, and all of the daily newspapers are understandably filled with reports on the EU. But, interestingly, they do not dominate all of the front pages: the headlines of Lidove noviny and Mlada fronta Dnes do deal with the EU referendum, but Hospodarske noviny and Pravo's first pages focus more on the latest suicide bombing in Jerusalem and the CSA pilots' strike set for Tuesday.

Lidove noviny gives the latest results of a pre-referendum poll, which indicates that fifty seven per cent of Czech voters will participate in the referendum, and seventy six per cent will vote "yes" for EU membership. However, the newspaper also reports that another poll has shown that one-fifth of Czech voters do not know how and where to vote.

Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda and Interior Minister Stanislav Gross have said that they will intensify the information campaign. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla adds that the polling places are there where they have always been, and the local authorities should inform voters where they are, reports Lidove noviny.

The economics-oriented daily Hospodarske noviny carries a report on its front page that shows that Czechs pay high taxes just as the citizens of more advanced countries in Europe do. Only the Swedes, Danes, French and Austrians give relatively more money to the state than the Czechs. And every day, the state gets approximately 235 crowns from every single citizen in the Czech Republic, says Hospodarske noviny.

The Czech Senate being criticised by conservationists, writes Mlada fronta Dnes, for building underground garages in Prague's historic Little Quarter. The garages are being constructed under the palaces which the Senate occupies, and conservationists argue that their construction could harm surrounding palaces. The National Institute for the Preservation of Historic Monuments disapproved of the construction, but its concerns were dismissed by the Ministry of Culture.

The culture section of Pravo has a review on a new documentary called "Head of State," which will be broadcast on Czech Television on Thursday night. The documentary records the candidates in the Czech presidential elections which took place earlier this year, and it exposes their temperament, arrogance and sense of humour - or lack thereof.

The makers of the documentary took the head of a figurine, attached it to a polystyrene body made in the shape of the Czech Republic, and got the candidates to write their campaign and personal slogans on it - and what (and not who) they thought the head of state should be. The president should be "civil, trusted, unifying, moral, honest," wrote one of the candidates, and "genuine, so that they don't become a clown," says former president Vaclav Havel in the documentary.