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May 13th
13-05-1998
May 13th

President Havel's amnesty for two Romanies who attacked Republican leader Miroslav Sladek on Saturday was the story dominating the papers.

Pravo features an interview on its front page with President Vaclav Havel, who says that he considers the attack on Sladek to have been for the good of the state. "Displays of this kind, however should take other forms than smacking politicians" the paper quotes Havel as saying. The two Romanies attacked Mr Sladek on Saturday after the Republican leader made disparaging remarks about the President and first Lady. The rest of the interview focuses on the upcoming elections and Mr Havel's recovery. Pravo quotes Havel as saying he wants to be in good health for the elections and that stability needs to be restored to the Czech political scene.

Zemske noviny does not take such an enthusiastic view of the President's amnesty. The papers comment that a Romany spokesman exaggerated the affair when describing it for journalists and quotes experts as saying that Havel could have waited.

Lidove noviny on the other hand, praises Havel's amnesty. The paper reports that the Republicans exaggerated the incident and quotes police and witnesses as saying that after the attack, Republican MP's announced that over a hundred romanies took part in the affair. Moreover writes the paper, Republicans also claimed that the Romanies were armed, another statement later dismissed by the police.

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