Saturday, January 12, 2013

News 1.12.2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Saturday, January 12th, 2013

By: Ian Willoughby

* Milos Zeman and Karel Schwarzenberg will go into the second round of
the first Czech direct presidential election.

* The two candidates heading into the runoff have already begun
battling for supremacy.

* The Social Democrats have endorsed Mr. Zeman, the party's former
leader, for the presidency.

* A police officer and former soccer player who killed his wife and
then shot himself is in a critical condition.

* The Czech soccer league's leading scorer David Lafata has joined
Sparta Prague from Jablonec.

Zeman, Schwarzenberg to go head-to-head for position of Czech president

Milos Zeman and Karel Schwarzenberg will go into a two-candidate runoff
in the first Czech direct presidential election in two weeks' time. Mr.
Zeman, a former prime minister, received 24.21 percent of the vote,
followed by Mr. Schwarzenberg, who is foreign minister and chairman of
the TOP 09 party, with 23.40 percent and Jan Fischer on 16.35 percent.
Mr. Fischer, who is also a former prime minister, had been ahead in
opinion polls for a long period but was overtaken by Mr. Zeman in the
polls and seemed to lose a good deal of support in the final days
before the first-round vote. Turnout in Friday and Saturday's vote was
61 percent. The winner will succeed Vaclav Klaus, who steps down in
early March.

Social Democrats' Dientsbier just behind Fischer in fourth, debacle for
Civic Democrats' Sobotka

Of the remaining six candidates, the Social Democrats' Jiri Dientsbier
received 16.12 percent, tattooed artist Vladmir Franz 6.84 percent, MEP
Zuzana Roithova 4.95 percent, MP Tatana Fischerova 3.23 percent, the
Civic Democrats' Premysl Sobotka 2.46 percent and former MEP Jana
Bobosikova 2.39 percent. The outcome will be seen as particularly poor
for Mr. Sobotka, whose party lead the Czech coalition government.

Candidates already battling ahead of round two

The two candidates heading into the runoff have already begun battling
for supremacy. In a news conference at his election headquarters, Karel
Schwarzenberg described Mr. Zeman as a man of the past (he also sang
the Czech national anthem). The latter replied about an hour later by
saying that Mr. Schwarzenberg was a man of the present, in that he was
responsible for the actions of the current government, including tax
rises, pension reform and church restitution. He also highlighted the
link between his opponent and his TOP 09 colleague Miroslav Kalousek,
who is seen as the de facto head of the party and as finance minister
is the chief architect of the financial reforms. Mr. Zeman said the
runoff would be a left-right vote along the lines of the
Hollande-Sarkozy battle for the presidency in France last year.

Social Democrats back Zeman, two defeated right-wing candidates endorse

The Social Democrats have given their endorsement to Milos Zeman, a
former leader of the party, for the presidency. Earlier, the party's
own candidate Jiri Dientsbier had said both Mr. Zeman and Mr.
Schwarzenberg were essentially right-wing. Meanwhile, the Civic
Democrats' Premysl Sobotka and Zuzana Roithova of the Christian
Democrats have given their backing to Mr. Schwarzenberg.

Zeman, former PM hoping to become president at second attempt, will
face aristocrat and Havel acolyte Schwarzenberg

Milos Zeman, 68, is regarded as one of the most significant Czech
politicians of the last two decades. He transformed the Social
Democrats into an election-winning force and was prime minister from
1998 to 2002, under a controversial "opposition agreement" with the
Civic Democrats, the party's nominal chief rivals. Accused by some of
coarsening political discourse in the Czech Republic, he failed to
become Czech president in bicameral elections in 2003. Karel
Schwarzenberg, who is 75, is an immensely wealthy titled prince whose
family fled Czechoslovakia after the Communist coup of 1948; after
serving as chairman of the International Helsinki Committee, a human
rights body, he returned after 1989's Velvet Revolution and was
chancellor to President Vaclav Havel, to whom he remained close.

Over 500 Czechs in US and Canada cast ballots

Over 500 Czechs cast their ballots in the presidential election in the
United States and Canada. The figure represents less than half the
number of registered Czech voters in both countries and was lower than
in the last Czech parliamentary elections. Voting began in the Western
Hemisphere on Thursday, with the first Czechs going to the polls at the
country's diplomatic offices in Brazil and Argentina. Some 54.28
percent of Czech voters living abroad gave their backing to Mr.
Schwarzenberg, while Mr. Zeman came second among them, with 10.11

Ex-soccer player police officer in critical condition after killing
wife and shooting himself

A police officer who on Friday shot his wife in Hradec Kralove before
aiming the weapon at himself is in a critical condition. The incident
took place in a hairdressing salon in the central Bohemian town. The
woman was rushed to hospital but died soon afterwards. The General
Inspectorate of the Security Services is investigating the incident on
account of the shooter being a member of the police force. The man, who
is aged 42, formerly played soccer with a Czech first division club. He
and his wife are said to have split up over Christmas.

Top scorer Lafata leaves Jablonec for Sparta

The striker David Lafata has joined Sparta Prague from Jablonec in a
three-and-a-half-year deal. Lafata, who is 31, has been the leading
scorer in Czech soccer's top tier for the last two seasons and heads
the goals chart this term with 13 so far. The forward has made 23
appearances for the Czech national team and joins Sparta at a time when
the club is third in the domestic league and preparing to face Chelsea
in the Europa League.


There should be some sunny spells in the Czech Republic in the next
couple of days, with temperatures not expected to rise about -1 degree

Articles posted on today
Milos Zeman, Karel Schwarzeberg heading to Czech presidential runoff

Milos Zeman and Karel Schwazrnberg have emerged as the strongest
candidates from the first round of the Czech presidential election, and
are heading to a runoff for the top post held in two weeks' time. A
former Social Democrat prime minister, Milos Zeman picked up over 24
percent of the vote while Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg
surprisingly came in close second.
Zeman-Schwarzenberg showdown scenario few had predicted

The first Czech president directly elected by voters will be either
Milos Zeman or Karel Schwarzenberg. The former headed the polls going
into the first round, and confirmed the role of bookmakers' favourite
by coming first with 24.2 percent of the vote. However, while some
thought Mr. Schwarzenberg might perhaps squeak past Jan Fischer (who
had for a considerable period headed the polls himself), nobody
predicted he could achieve a showing as strong as 23.4 percent.
Mailbox 12.1.2013

Today in Mailbox: Czech presidential elections, a poem about Tycho
Brahe by Sarah Williams, new QSL cards, Radio Prague on Facebook, RP's
monthly listners' competition. Listeners/readers quoted: Vladimir
Gudzenko, Caitlin Brown, Hans Verner Lollike, Jayanta Chakrabarty.
Another rotten day!

Welcome to another edition of SoundCzech - Radio Prague's language
course in which you can pick up useful phrases with the help of song
lyrics. Today's song is called Dalsi blbej den (the Czech version of
Nick Cave's Death is Not the End ) and is sung by the duo Ales Brychta
and Pavla Kapitanova. The phrase to listen out for is actually hard to
miss because it is simply everywhere : blbej den.

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