15/02/2008 - Results - 2nd round
Outgoing President Vaclav Klaus was re-elected on 15th February 2008 for a second five year term in office as leader of the Czech Republic. With the support of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) he won 141 votes during the third round of voting in the second presidential election; this was one more vote than the simple majority required in the third round. His rival Jan Svejnar, professor of Economy and Public Policy at the University of Michigan (USA), with the support of the Social Democratic Party (CSSD), the Greens (SZ), the Association of Independents-European Democrats (SNK-ED) and the Open Democracy Union (KOD) won 111 votes. The vote took the form of a show of hands.
"I would like to thank you for your support and I can assure you that I will not disappoint you. I have always worked for our freedom and national cohesion,
"' declared the re-elected President after the voting had taken place. He added, "I shall always support the existence of the Czech currency as long as this is to the advantage of the Czech citizens. I shall not passively submit to the officials of any international institution.
Jan Svejnar congratulated Vaclav Klaus. "As far as I am concerned it is not a defeat but a success," he maintained. The opposition candidate announced that he would continue his work for the success of the Czech Republic – however he remained vague as to the means he would employ to achieve this. "The fact that voting took place by a show of hands made it more difficult to forecast. At first we thought it would make Vaclav Klaus's victory more difficult but finally the effect was the opposite. Jan Svejnar's chances were minimal from the outset and I believe he was used in some ways by the other politicians to organise a fight against Vaclav Klaus
," said Erik Best, a journalist for Radio Prague.
On 12th February, three days before the second presidential election, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) decided to put forward a candidate close to the liberal right. Jana Boboskova, MEP is the former director of the editorial offices for the news on state TV and presenter of Sedmicka, a political programme on Nova. Just a few hours after having made their choice the Communists, who were represented by the chairman of their parliamentary group, Pavel Kovacik, said they were prepared to withdraw the candidature of Jana Boboskova and support Jan Svejnar on three conditions: that the Social Democratic Party and the Greens together with the KSCM respect the opinion of the majority of citizens with regard to the military base for the American radar on Czech territory – meaning that there would be no support of its installation, that the Social Democratic Party and the Greens conclude a pact of non-aggression and convenience with the KSCM for mutual relations with regard to the presidential election and finally that Jan Svejnar promise to be a President of the Republic with an equal attitude towards all political parties and that he would not circumnavigate the Constitution. The Social Democratic Party and the Greens accepted discussions with the Communists who finally decided to support Jan Svejnar in the first two rounds of the election only. Jana Boboskova withdrew from the race.
"The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia's strategy officially aimed to prevent the election of Vaclav Klaus but in reality it was clearly designed to play in his favour,
" commented Jan Svejnar.
66 year-old Vaclav Klaus, who originates from Prague, is a trained economist. After having worked for the State Bank of Czechoslovakia he joined the planning institution of the Science Academy. Entering politics after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 he then became Finance Minister. In 1991 he founded the Civic Democratic Party of which he remained the president until 2002. In June 1992, after the ODS victory in the general elections Vaclav Klaus along with Vladimir Meciar became the head of the temporary federal that would finally lead to the division of Czechoslovakia into two States: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The head of the Czech government continued in government after the general elections of 1996 won by the ODS. However he had to resign in 1997 after he was involved in a financial scandal (of which he was subsequently cleared). After the general election of 1998 he became president of the Chamber of Deputies. The Civic Democratic Party lost the general elections in 2002 but on 28th February 2003 Vaclav Klaus succeeded Vaclav Havel as President of the Czech Republic.
A eurosceptic, Vaclav Klaus has always refused to fly the European flag on the entrance to the Czech Presidency building. In the first half of 2009 he will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months.
Results of the third round of the 2nd Presidential election in the Czech Republic 15th February 2008
Source: Czech Press Agency CTK