Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

19-01-2003

Zeman says he can beat Klaus if Social Democrats are united

Former prime minister Milos Zeman has said he can defeat the Civic Democrats' Vaclav Klaus in a presidential election if the party he once led, the Social Democrats, are united behind him. On Saturday Mr Zeman was named the Social Democrats' candidate for next Friday's second attempt to elect a new president, after a first vote last Wednesday proved inconclusive. He and Mr Klaus are the only candidates so far. However, the Social Democrats are not united over Milos Zeman's candidacy, with current party leader Vladimir Spidla refusing to lobby on Mr Zeman's behalf, and it is not clear whether he will receive all of the party's 81 votes. Current president Vaclav Havel steps down in two weeks time after 13 years in office.

Regional branches of Social Democrats choose candidates for top posts

Meanwhile some regional branches of the Social Democrats have been choosing their candidates for leading posts in the party, ahead of a conference in March. The only candidate for party chairman so far is current leader and prime minister, Vladimir Spidla. On Friday, deputy chairman Petr Lachnit said Stanislav Gross and Zdenek Skromach should stand against Mr Spidla, though Mr Skromach himself said on Sunday that it was not the right time to choose a new leader.

Mares elected leader of Freedom Union at party conference

Petr Mares has been elected leader of the Freedom Union, the smallest of three parties in the governing coalition, at a party conference in Brno. In another vote at the Freedom Union conference on Sunday, the overwhelming majority of delegates voted to remain in the coalition with the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats formed after elections in June last year. Only seven delegates out of around 400 voted for a resolution to quit the government after a forthcoming referendum on joining the European Union.

First ever Romany Orthodox priest ordained

The first ever Romany priest in the Czech Orthodox church was ordained on Sunday. Romanies from around the Czech Republic attended the ordination of David Dudas at a packed St Anne's church in Pilsen. Mr Dudas is to begin serving the local Romany community in February in a Gothic church which they have spent two years renovating.

Anniversary of death of Jan Palach marked in hometown

A ceremony to mark the death of Jan Palach was held in his home town of Vsetaty, central Bohemia on Saturday. Jan Palach died on January 19, 1969, three days after setting himself on fire on Prague's Wencelsas Square in protest against the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led troops.

Czech tennis player Denisa Chladkova out of Australian Open

The Czech tennis player Denisa Chladkova has been knocked out of the Australian Open. Ms Chladkova lost 6-3 6-3 to Spain's Virginia Ruano Pascual in the fourth round on Sunday. Saturday‘s play saw three Czech players - Jiri Novak, Radek Stepanek and Klara Koukalova - knocked out of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.

Weather

Monday is expected to be cloudy with a maximum daytime temperature of 6 degrees Celsius.

19-01-2003