Prague Castle - 281 Czech lawmakers assembled today in a second attempt to elect the next Czech president, this time deciding among three candidates - incumbent Václav Klaus, US based ecnomist Jan Švejnar and European Parliament deputy Jana Bobošíková, nominated at the last minute this week by the Communist Party.
In the last week´s three round ballot President Vaclav Klaus fell one vote short of the 140 needed for re-election, while economics professor Jan Švejnar gained 113 in the third round of voting.
In the meantime the lawmakers failed again to resolve a dispute over whether today´s ballot should be public or secret.
The overall atmosphere of today´s session was somewhat calm and yet, there was some drama at the beginning. Minutes before the sessions started to everybody´s surprise, Greens´ MP Olga Zubová apologised for abstaining from the vote due to her unexpected illness. Thus Jan Švejnar´s ´team´ consisting of the Social Democrats and the Greens lost one vote.
A few minutes later the Social Democratic Party expelled Evžen Snítilý who admitted to Aktuálně.cz that he is planning to vote for Václav Klaus who was nominated by the governing Civic Democrats.
Read more about last week´s presidential votes:
17:55 - Jan Švejnar thanks for all the support he had from the lawmakers as well as his family who stood by him.
17:50 - Václav Klaus makes his first speech as a new re-elected president, saying not much needs to be commented, as everything has been said in his two speeches earlier.
17:47 - The final results are announced: 279 lawmakers attended today´s joint aseembly - Václav Klaus won 141 and Jan Švejnar gained 111 votes. Václav Klaus was re-elected president of the Czech Republic, which means he will sta yin power until 2013.
17:27 - Aktuálně.cz reporters are saying the backroom talk is Václav Klaus won 141 votes.
17:15 - Third round of voting ended - the unofficial results show Václav Klaus was re-elected president of the Czech Republic
16:30 - The 2nd round results: Klaus won 93 votes in the Chamber of Deputies and 48 votes in the Senate, while Švejnar collected 93 votes in the Chamber of Deputies and 32 votes in the Senate. 12 lawmakers abstained, 2 were absent.
16:00 - The unofficial results indicate the Czech lawmakers failed to elect the country´s next president in the second round. The third round will soon follow.
15:35 - Second round ballot on Václav Klaus
15:30 - The first round results: Klaus gained support of 93 deputies and 48 senators. Švejnar won 104 deputies and senator 32. The second round will follow, as neither of the candidates won a majority of each chamber.
15:10 - Break until 15:30
14:56 - Voting on Jan Švejnar
14:48 - Voting on Václav Klaus
14:41 - Senator Karel Barták says he will not attend the vote, as it is again public.
14:44 - Aktuálně.cz se made an estimate of the vote and a this moment it looks like Václav Klaus will gain 141 votes, which means a majority needed for election.
14:00 -Vote on the ballot - public or secret - the ballot is going to be public
13:05 Head of the Communist Party Vojtěch Filip said after Bobošíková´s drop-out the Communists would support Jan Švejnar in the first and second round, but not in the third round. "We will discuss our support in the faction now but I assume that voting for Jan Švejnar in the third round will be out of question."
12:55 - Lunch break until 14.00
12:54 - Jana Bobošíková unexpetedly withdrew her candidacy. Speaking to reporters outside the Spanish Hall, Bobošíková refused to say which of the two remaining candidates she would support. She decided to withdraw her candidacy after she learned the Communists failed to find support for her outside their faction.
11:55 - In his speech head of Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek pointed to the fact President Václav Klaus vetoed only bills proposed by the Social Democrats, while he has never vetoed one single bill proposed by Topolánek´s administration. "We are convinced that the Czech Republic needs a president who will respect this country´s Constitution," stated Paroubek.
11:41 - Senator Karel Barták (Christian Democrats) also made his speech. Barták is one of the electors who were absent in last week´s presidential vote. Barták explained why he left the Spanish Hall last Friday - it was due to his disagreement with a public vote. He regards the secret ballot as more democratic.
11:16 - Vice-chairman of the Chamber of Deputies and head of Communists Vojtěch Filip defended their candidate Jana Bobošíková. "You can hate Jana Bobošíková or you can respect her. She is able to go against the tide. She is a fighter, she knows how to argue and have a debate. She brought back specific topics into the presidential vote," stated Filip.
11:06 - In his speech PM and head of Civic Democrats Mirek Topolánek said: "Let´s try to regain dignity which should characterise any presidential election. We are not here today to talk about reforms but we are here to elect a president. In five years no one will remember our problems we are going through today." Topolánek marked the presidential post as the climax of a political career, not its beginning.
10:50 - In her speech presidential hopeful, nominated by the Communist Party, Jana Bobošíková spoke of all the pressurizing and threats that the lawmakers were exposed to. "I am afraid we happen to be on the verge. A small step is enough to take us to the mafia-like regime." Bobošíková also criticized PM Mirek Topolánek´s government´s reform - taxes and fees at doctors´ that prevent mothers and their babies to get check-ups. "We have to keep pursuing big dreams, " said Bobošíková.
10:37 - In his speech Social Democrats´ and Greens´ presidential nominee Jan Švejnar repeated he wants to be a president - unifier who will break down the barriers that divide Czech society. "I would like to make people believe in politics again. I will be a president who accepts and creates challenges. I will be a president who does not perceive his post only as a reward. I will respect the Chamber of Deputies and Senate. I believe I am a candidate who knows how to unify people and can openly talk to each one of you."
10:10 - In his speech Civic Democrats´ presidential nominee incumbent Václav Klaus criticized last week presidential ballot as being full of rudeness, insults and demogogy.
"If you wish to live in a future made up of fashionable waves when smoking is prohibited but illegal drugs tolerated, when marriage is on the verge of extinction and couples go to Town Halls to register only, when the old and sick are mercifully euthanized, when we are told what to eat and drink and how we can talk then this is not my programme," said Václav Klaus. He again highlighted his firm stand towards CZK. "If you elect anyone but me, you choose euro [over CZK]," he said.
Read the whole speech of Václav Klaus here:
10:05 - Head of the Chamber of Deputies Miloslav Vlček welcomed everybody at the joint session of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Vlček ended his welcome speech saying: "I hope that we will contribute to democracy of our country after all, in spite of all the unwanted happenings in the past few days."