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First round of presidential election to take place on January 12 and 13

The first round of presidential elections is set to take place on January 12 and 13. The head of the Upper House, the Senate, Milan Štěch, announced the date on Wednesday. Among the candidates for the post is the current head of state, Miloš Zeman, lyricist Michal Horáček and Jiří Drahoš, a former head of the Academy of Sciences, who have all already collected 50,000 signatures needed to officially register as candidates. The deadline for the registration for the campaign is November 7.

Incumbent Zeman respects Senate chair’s right to set presidential vote date

Incumbent Milos Zeman says he fully respects the right of Senate speaker Milan Štěch to set January 12 and 13 as the dates for the first round of presidential elections. Communicating through a spokesperson, Mr. Zeman said he himself had announced dates for October’s general elections with time to spare.

Another candidate for head of state, scientist Jiří Drahoš, said that the dates were important for the public but would not greatly impact his team’s work. A third nominee, lyricist and businessman Michal Horáček, said he had fulfilled all the legal requirements for his campaign. Mr. Drahoš is the bookmakers’ favourite for the vote, which will see a second round on the third weekend of January.

Czechs hand to Germany Vietnamese man accused of kidnapping

The Czech Republic has handed over to the German authorities a Vietnamese citizen wanted in Germany on espionage charges, the Czech News Agency reported. The man, who is 46, has permanent residence in the Czech Republic.

Earlier this month the German state prosecutor issued an international warrant for the arrest of the man, who is accused of being part of a group that kidnapped two Vietnamese people in Berlin on the orders of Vietnamese agents.

Czech tram makers hoping to save major Warsaw order

Tram makers Škoda Transportation want to hold talks with the authorities in Warsaw, after the Polish city cancelled a lucrative contract won by the Czech firm. Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday that the order was for over 200 trams at a value of CZK 16.6 billion. The newspaper said Warsaw had cancelled the tender as it did not have the funds to cover the costs.

The value of the contract exceeds Škoda Transportation’s entire revenues for the whole of 2016. A representative of the firm said it would offer the Warsaw authorities a reduced price to boost the city’s chances of drawing on EU subsidies.

Restored Czech classic Black Peter set for Venice premiere

A restored version of the classic Miloš Forman film Black Peter will receive its premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 4. Representatives of the National Film Archive, which has restored Black Peter, said they had consulted Forman and the film’s assistant director Ivan Passer during the process.

During the restoration process a previously unknown extra scene was discovered. However, it has not been added to the movie and will only appear as a DVD extra.

Plzeň travel to Greece with eye on Europa League spot

Viktoria Plzeň have travelled to Cyprus for a Europa League qualifying game against local club AEK Larnaca on Thursday night. The Czech league champions fell behind in the home leg of that tie last week but went on to win 3:1.

If Plzeň, who have not won an away game in Europe for over two years, progress to the group stage of the competition for the third time in succession it will bring at least CZK 68 million into the club’s coffers.

Weather forecast

It should be partly cloudy with some sunny spells on Thursday, with temperatures of up to 27 degrees Celsius expected. Daytime highs will then rise, getting up to the low 30s Celsius at the weekend.