Coalition talks on joint presidential candidate

The leaders of the three parties in government are to meet for late-night consultations on Monday in an effort to reach agreement on a joint candidate for the third round of presidential elections, due to take place on February 28th. After a series of futile attempts to find a widely acceptable candidate, the Social Democrats have now suggested the nomination of former education minister and university professor Jan Sokol. The two smaller parties of the governing coalition -the Christian Democrats and Freedom Union - have indicated that Mr. Sokol would be acceptable for them, but a great deal depends on the Social Democrats themselves, who are divided over Jan Sokol's nomination. If the third round of presidential elections fails to produce a successor to the former president Vaclav Havel, Parliament will work on a Constitutional amendment which would enable direct presidential elections.