In response to the prime minister's words, President Vaclav Klaus said late on Saturday evening he was shocked by Mr Paroubek's statements and said that in his opinion the prime minister was unable to accept defeat. President Klaus reiterated that he would start talks with the Civic Democrats over forming a new government on Monday. However, a presidential adviser said on Sunday that President Klaus would not formally entrust Mr Topolanek with the task of forming a new government, the normal procedure following elections in the Czech Republic.
One of the winners of the Czech election was the Green Party, which
entered parliament for the first time. The party leader, Martin Bursik
was delighted at the result:
"Frankly, I am very happy about it - that the Czech Green Party is going to get into parliament and we are going to be the first Green Party in Central and Eastern Europe and we are prepared to assist and to help our partners in other Central and Eastern European parties."
As the running results were coming in on Saturday afternoon, party leaders remained cautious in their comments saying they would wait for the final results. Both the chairman of the Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, and Social Democrat leader and Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek have thanked Czech voters for the high turnout. Representatives of the Communist Party have said they are disappointed by their party's showing as they believed the final result would be higher than the exit polls suggested. Christian Democrat leaders said they would like to be part of a stable coalition and said several options were possible. The Greens have called this election a historic moment for their party.
A 78-year-old voter suffered a fatal heart attack at a polling station in a district of Prague on Friday. Despite a doctor being on hand it proved impossible to save the woman's life. Another man also suffered a heart attack at a polling station in the Moravian region of Sumperk and could not be saved although he was attended to immediately on site.
With over 99 percent of the vote counted, the right-of-centre opposition
Civic Democrats appear to have won this year's general election with 35.3
percent of the vote, three percent ahead of the ruling Social Democrats
with 32.3 percent. The three other parties that have crossed the 5-percent
threshold needed to enter parliament are the Communists with just under 13
percent, the Christian Democrats with over 7 percent and the Green Party
with over 6 percent.
Voter turnout has been calculated at just under 65 percent, some 6 percent more than in the previous general election four years ago.
For the second time, Czechs living abroad were able to take part in the elections. Voting took place at 108 Czech embassies and consulates, but only a fraction of those eligible to vote turned up. The number of people who had registered to vote abroad this year was only slightly higher than in the previous election four years ago. Between 70,000 and 300,000 Czechs eligible to vote are estimated to live abroad but only around 5,000 of those had registered. Turnout figures will be released later.
A fourteen-year old boy died on Friday in the town of Pilsen when a handball net fell on him. Police are investigating the details of the accident. It is the second such accident in just two months. A fourteen year old boy died in May in South Moravia after he was gravely injured by a falling football net.
Czechs customs officials working with specially-trained sniffer dogs may receive new training this autumn in the US, aimed at improving expertise using dogs to uncover hidden weapons and explosives in potential terrorist attacks. But, it is not yet clear whether the customs service will have the necessary funds. Currently, Czech customs relies on around 80 specialised dogs that focus largely on uncovering narcotics, but also banned foodstuffs, and uncovering smuggling of exotic animals.
Both the leader of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek and the head of the opposition Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek cast their votes shortly after polls opened on Friday. As well, both urged citizens to come out for the vote. Mr Paroubek voted togteher with his wife in the Prague suburb of Stodulky, while Mr Topolanek was accompanied by his family in Prague 6. Other notable figures who cast their ballot on Friday were former prime minister Milos Zeman, and President Vaclav Klaus.