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Czech Republic: Parliament Again Fails To Elect President

Prague, 24 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- After three more rounds of voting today, Czech lawmakers from both houses of parliament again failed to elect a successor to outgoing President Vaclav Havel. Former Prime Minister Milos Zeman was eliminated in the first round of voting at Prague Castle.

Vaclav Klaus, another former prime minister, and Senator Jaroslava Moserova advanced to the second and third rounds -- which ended inconclusively. Lower house speaker Lubomir Zaoralek announced the final result tonight: "The result is clear. In the third round, once again, no one was elected. This election is over."

In the third and last round, Klaus received a total of 127 votes from representatives of both houses of parliament, 14 votes short of the minimum 141 votes he would have needed to win. Moserova won 65 votes. Both politicians thanked their supporters. Klaus said he will stay in the race for president.

Parliament may decide to hold a third set of elections in the next few days or weeks or it could vote to amend the constitution to allow for direct elections by Czech voters. Havel's second five-year term ends on 2 February.