Topolánek re-elected party chairman

Mirek Topolánek has been re-elected chairman of the ruling Civic Democrats, defeating a eurosceptic wing in the party which called for a change of direction. Mr. Topolánek won with a convincing 284 votes against challenger Pavel Bém’s 162. Prague Mayor Pavel Bém, who is seen as a close associate of President Klaus, had called for a Civic Democrat minority government supported by the opposition, arguing that in the current three-party-coalition the Civic Democrats had ceded too much ground and abandoned their policy goals.

The election of the party chairman’s first deputy took three rounds with the post eventually going to a new face in party politics, the mayor of Prague 13, David Vodrážka. Mr. Vodrážka was elected after his chief rival for the post Ivan Langer withdrew his candidacy.