Daily news summary News of Radio Prague


Third attempt to elect new president to take place on Friday

Friday will see another attempt to elect a new Czech president. Both houses of the Czech parliament will meet at Prague Castle on Friday morning for the third time in six weeks to try and choose a new head of state in a secret ballot. The two candidates for the post are: the honorary chairman of the Civic Democratic Party and former Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, who received the most votes in the previous two elections, and the ruling coalition's nominee, university professor and former Education Minister Jan Sokol. The Czech Republic has been without a president since February 2, when Vaclav Havel's second and final term of office ended. If Friday's vote fails again to produce a new head of state, the legislators are likely to start debate on the introduction of direct presidential election.

Czech Lower House approves partial ban on tobacco advertising

The Czech lower house has approved a proposal put forward by the Christian Democrats partially banning tobacco advertising in public spaces. If approved by the Senate, billboards advertising cigarettes would disappear from Czech streets as of July 1st, 2004. However, tobacco companies will be allowed to sponsor Czech motor racing until 2007.

Lower house rejects bill on pension for former presidents

The lower house has also refused a government-proposed bill on pensions for former presidents. The legislation was meant to take effect on May 1. Former president Vaclav Havel, whose term expired on February 2, was to be the first to take advantage of it. Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Rychetsky, who had submitted the bill, told journalists after the vote that most deputies probably did not want presidents to have any special privileges after their term expires.

Czech Airlines to reinforce fleet by four aircraft

Czech Airlines has said its board approved a plan to add four planes by May to serve European and US destinations. The company, a member of the Sky Team alliance led by Air France and Delta, said in a statement it was leasing one Airbus and four Boeings. The move will expand the airline's fleet to 35 aircraft.

TV magnate Zelezny charged with further crimes

Police have charged senator and head of the commercial television station TV Nova Vladimir Zelezny with further counts of tax evasion and attempting to cheat a creditor. Mr Zelezny was stripped of his senator immunity in January so that investigations could continue into the TV magnate's business dealings. A police spokeswoman said there was no reason to take Mr Zelezny in custody.


Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with fog or slight snow showers in places. Daytime temperatures should range from 3 to 7 degrees Celsius.