Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

25-01-2003

Spidla: poor strategy to blame for failure of second presidential election

Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said poor strategy was to blame for the second failed attempt to elect a successor to President Vaclav Havel on Friday. Mr Spidla, leader of the senior coalition Social Democrats, said nominating the party's former leader Milos Zeman was a mistake. Mr Zeman was knocked out in the first round of the election, a joint session of the two houses of parliament. Mr Zeman's poor showing has highlighted deep divisions within the Social Democrats, after it emerged that many in his own party voted against him. Mr Spidla - who bitterly opposed Mr Zeman's nomination - says any consequences of the failure will be decided at the Social Democrats' national conference in March.

Second election fails, parties to decide whether to hold third attempt

Friday's election - the second in 10 days - ended in failure after none of the three candidates won a sufficient majority. Former Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus - nominated by the opposition Civic Democrats - once again made the strongest showing, falling just 14 votes short of becoming president. Senator Jaroslava Moserova, nominated by the two smaller parties in the ruling coalition, came second.

Parties to decide when - and whether - to hold third election

Party leaders are due to meet to discuss when - and whether - to hold a third election. Some politicians want to change the constitution to allow a popular vote, something which enjoys strong public support. The country will most likely be left without a head of state when President Havel steps down on February 2.

Asylum seekers continue hunger strike in protest at conditions

Two refugees from Armenia and one from Ukraine being held at a detention centre at Kostelec nad Orlici in east Bohemia are continuing a hunger strike in protest against conditions at the centre. The men, who began their protest on Friday, also say their asylum applications are being processed too slowly. The director of the centre defended the institution, saying it was one of the most modern in the country and comparable to those found in the European Union.

Bild: Afghan "terror commandos" heading for Czech Republic

Germany's mass-circulation Bild newspaper has claimed around 20 Afghan extremists are heading for a number of destinations in Europe, including the Czech Republic. Quoting unnamed German intelligence sources, the paper claimed the extremists were travelling to Europe on false Pakistani passports. Describing them as "terror commandos", Bild said they were travelling via Bahrain to Germany, Britain, France and the Czech Republic. German intelligence officials have so far refused to comment on the claims.

Weather forecast

Sunday will be a mostly cloudy day, with drizzle or rain in places and snow in mountain areas. Temperatures in the daytime will range between -1 and 3 degrees Celsius.

25-01-2003