Prague - Almost for 10 hours lawmakers and senators discussed on Friday who is going to head the country in the next five years.
The Prague Castle witnessed heated-up procedural disputes which prevailed largely between the Civic Democrats and Social Democrats. It all ended in deadlock, amidst mutual recriminations and even bad language.
The nervous debate over the method of vote protracted for the entire day. A number of time-outs taken largely for back-room vote-trading deals added to the tense atmosphere in the Prague Castle´s Spanish Hall.
The presidential vote was finally cast at 20.00 but there was not enough time to do more than only two rounds of vote. Head of the Chamber of Deputies Miloslav Vlček interrupted the session at 21.00, so the results of the second round vote were to be announced next morning.
Saturday´s vote took place in the spirit of the one on Friday, characterised by bickering, accusations and behind the scenes negotiations.
Problems started even before the joint session of Chamber of Deputies and the Senate began. In total, three voters were absent at today´s session, as they were hospitalised due to the unbearable stress in the past two days.
As a result, the legislators failed to elect the next president of the Czech Republic in the third round of the election, as none of the candidates won the majority of votes of MPs and senators.
In the third round the winner needed 140 votes. Challenger Jan Švejnar gained 113, while incumbent Klaus won 139, thus falling only one vote short of re-ellection.
The next presidential election is scheduled for February 15th. Civic Democrats will do anything to prevent the public vote.
Many believe Václav Klaus is projected to win in the next election round.
14:41 In an interview for Czech TV Václav Klaus says he is ready to stand again. Civic Democrat PM leader Mirek Topolánek confirms Klaus´ nomination for the next vote, scheduled for Friday February 15. Topolánek accuses Czech TV of unbalanced reporting on the presidential election.
14:38 Chairman of the joint session Miloslav Vlček announces the results - Václav Klaus was supported by 92 deputies and 42 senators, while Jan Švejnar won 81 votes of the deputies and 32 votes in the Senate. The lawmakers failed to elect the next Czech president.
14:17 Unofficial results show Václav Klaus won 139 votes, which means the next president of the Czech Republic has not been elected.
14:07 The Communist Party abstains from the vote.
14:03 The vote on Jan Švejnar is being cast.
13:54 The vote on Václav Klaus is being cast.
12:38 Social Democrat Jiří Paroubek refused the theory senator Snítilý broke down because of the pressure being put on him by Social Democrats. On Czech TV Paroubek presents photographs showing the senator and Minister Langer of Civic Democrats engaged in conversation. Paroubek claims it was the Civic Democrats exorting pressure on senator Snítilý.
12:21 One of the presidential candidates Jan Švejnar says on Czech TV: "I treasure all the support I received from all the parties, starting with the Green Party, the independents, Social Democrats and some Christian Democrats. I believe the democratic election process will go on. I have just one remark - we wondered about 142 votes [that Klaus received]. We counted only 140," he added.
12:16 Another senator, Christian Democrat Josef Kalbáč left the joint session for unknown reasons.
11:32 Break prolonged until 11:45.
11:28 Social Democratic deputy Evžen Snítilý fainted, Social Democrats ask for 'coupling', meaning they would like one Civic Democrat not to vote.
11:22 Independent senator Jana Juřenčáková told Aktuálně.cz she is going to vote Václav Klaus again. She confessed she had a rough night as someone kept ringing her phone the whole night and she received a sms telling her to die if she votes for Klaus. "I do not know what to think. They accused me of meeting Václav Klaus secretly but I only forgot my mobile phone and went to fetch it," she told Aktuálně.cz
11:04 Break prolonged until 11:15.
11:03 Both presidential candidates are present at today´s session. Both came accompanied by their wives - Livia Klausová and Katherine Švejnar.
10:41 The Communists have not disclosed specific names of their candidates yet, which they would propose for the potential second-round vote. "I do not exclude we would propose Jan Švejnar again," Kováčik said to Aktuálně.cz. "But we want an impartial candidate and we want more candidates for the second-round vote than only these two," said Kováčik. Being asked about the high popularity Jan Švejnar enjoys, Kováčik responded: "Anybody would be as popular if the media campaign is done well."
10:38 Communists´ deputies leader Pavel Kováčik told Aktuálně.cz about their strategy in the third round. The Communists lawmakers will not leave the hall not to decrease the quorum but will not support neither candidate. Thus chances of Jan Švejnar to be elected president has decreased to minimum. Social Democratic leader Jiří Paroubek has quickly responded: "It is a risk tactics."
10:13 Chairman Vlček announces a break until 11 a.m.
10:12 Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Vlček announces official results - Klaus received 94 votes of MPs and 48 in the Senate. Švejnar won 104 votes in the Chamber of Deputies and 31 votes in the Senate.
10:07 Joint session chairman Vlček proposes Rostislav Slavotínek of Christian Democrats to become the verifier.
10:06 The interrupted joint session of both chambers begins. The lawmkares have to elect the verifier, as verifier Karel Barták, elected yesterday, of the Christian Democrats is missing.
9:53 Jiří Paroubek says in an interview for Czech TV: "In my view there was a mistake - the Chamber of Deputies has 202 votes. The problem is the chamber is divided into two parts. In our part are Social Democrats, Greens and Christian Democrats. I believe two votes of the Christian Democrats were mistakingly counted for Václav Klaus. It is important to control the part where the Christian Democrats sit. But we won´t raise any objections, it is just in the third round it should be checked," added Paroubek.
9:50 According to the behind-the-scenes speculations Christian Democratic senator Karel Barták is going to be missing at today´s joint session. At Friday´s vote the senate elected Barták verifier. If it is confirmed he is absent despite being signed in the attedance list, a new verifier will have to be elected.