Third attempt to elect president should succeed, says Prime Minister Spidla

Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said he believes a third attempt to elect a new Czech president will be successful. Mr Spidla said on Tuesday he expected those members of his own Social Democrats who have promised to support former education minister Jan Sokol in the February 28 vote to keep their word. On Monday the prime minister and the heads of the two other parties in the governing coalition discussed the issue of support for Mr Sokol's candidature. The Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union have said they would vote for Mr Sokol, if it is clear the Social Democrats are united behind him, something some observers say is unlikely. The Czech Republic has been without a president since Vaclav Havel stepped down on February 2, after two attempts by parliament to elect a successor in January proved inconclusive.

Author: Ian Willoughby