Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.
These are the main points and now the news in more detail.
President Havel said in an interview with Czech Radio on Tuesday that he felt distrust from political leaders who openly expressed their fears that the president might charge a wrong person with forming the cabinet. He said he felt offended by allegations that he would not respect the results of the polls and choose a friend of his for the next premier. Havel said these allegations were the reason why he would not say anything concrete until after the elections, leaving politicians in uncertainty.
The Civic Democratic Alliance, a junior partner in the former ruling coalition, has recommended that its followers and members cast their votes for other right-wing parties, namely the Civic Democratic Party or the Freedom Union.
The Civic Democratic Alliance itself decided not to run for seats in parliament in the forthcoming elections.
The pre-election campaign ends today in the afternoon. The law bans any promotion of political parties 48 hours before the polling stations open. It is also forbidden to publish results of opinion polls during this period.
The Czech Social Democratic Party would be able to form a cabinet which would not depend on any support from the Communists, Social Democrat leader in the Chamber of Deputies Stanislav Gross, said on Tuesday. He was reacting to a Communist party statement that it was ready to take part in the next government or support a Social Democratic cabinet. Communist leader Miroslav Grebenicek had said that the Social Democrats will have no other option than to choose the Pensioners Party and the Communists for coalition partners if the Christian Democrats fail to get into parliament.
Of all the parties' election campaigns, that of the Civic Democratic Party has drawn most public attention, according to the director of the STEM polling institute, Jan Hartl.
He explained that simplicity and straightforwardness were the best points of the ODS's campaign. In his opinion, the voters are to a large extent confused and the ODS has offered them a clear choice -- its chairman Vaclav Klaus, a charismatic figure which the rest of the parties lack.
Defence Minister and a Freedom Union election leader Michal Lobkowicz has described Social Democrat chairman Milos Zeman as a "political dinosaur" for his words that it would help to cleanse the political scene if the Freedom Union did not gain the five percent of the vote necessary to enter parliament.
Minister Lobkowicz said he believed that Milos Zeman was a political dinosaur and was quite right to be afraid of a party of a new type such as the Freedom Union. In Lobkowicz's opinion, Zeman is apparently aware that his era has ended and realises that he will soon be replaced by young, more dynamic and intelligent people, such as Stanislav Gross or Petra Buzkova.
The Czech army is ready to take part in a possible NATO military action in Kosovo, the army chief of staff said on Tuesday, adding that this depends on whether NATO will invite the Czech Republic to participate.
The North Atlantic Alliance has been planning an intervention in Kosovo including both air strikes and ground operations in order to stop Serbian violence against native Albanians in the Kosovo enclave.
The Czech foreign ministry has condemned acts of violence on both sides of the conflict, and called for a diplomatic solution leading to Kosovo's full autonomy while maintaining the integrity of Yugoslavia.
The most popular Czech politicians are Social Democrat deputy leader Petra Buzkova, Social Democrat leader in the parliament Stanislav Gross, and president Havel. These are the results of the latest opinion poll conducted by the Sofres-Factum agency.
The least popular are republican leader Miroslav Sladek and Civic Democratic Party deputy leader Miroslav Macek.
Quick stabilization of the economic situation, stimulation of economic growth and enhancing the Czech economy's ability to compete are the most urgent tasks for a new cabinet appointed after the elections--this according to president of the Czech Union of Industry and Transport Stepan Popovic. In his opinion, election manifestos of individual political parties are full of visions and promises but almost none of them spell out how these goals can be reached.
And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting another rather cloudy day with scattered showers, and highest daytime temperatures just below 20 degrees Celsius.
And that's the end of the news.
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