President Vaclav Havel has said political bickering threatened Czechoslovakia's economy and its young democracy.

Havel chastised lawmakers on Sunday for failing to pass legislation to usher in a market economy for the former communist nation, and to approve a law - unique in Eastern Europe - to return nationalized property."Our country is in a state of danger," the playwright-turned-president said in a regular weekly radio address.

"Not only the economy but the system of state power may collapse, and the president will only watch it, because he has no powers," Havel said, referring to parliament's refusal to give him wider powers.

"I appeal to politicians to keep in mind their responsibility and try to discuss the enormous tasks lying ahead of them in a factual manner."

In one of the worst instances of political paralysis, arguments between the government and the Federal Assembly have stalled proposed legislation to return nationalized property to its original owners.

Czechoslovakia is the only former Soviet-bloc nation planning to return property nationalized or confiscated by the former communist state.

The so-called restitution law has not won approval by parliamentary committees but was expected to be discussed in a plenary session on Wednesday.

Some parliamentary deputies argue restitution should be made for property seized since 1945 or even 1939, when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia at the start of World War II.

But the government insists such laws would ruin the economy and the law should only cover property taken since Feb. 25, 1948, when the communists came to power.