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05-12-2004

Topolanek re-elected Civic Democratic Party leader

The country's main opposition party, the right wing Civic Democrats overwhelmingly re-elected Mirek Topolanek party leader at a national conference over the weekend. In a rousing speech to the assembly Topolanek vowed to lead the party to victory in the next parliamentary elections, in June of 2006. With the Civic Democrats far ahead in the polls and having scored decisive victories in the Senate, regional and European elections, Topolanek is a strong candidate for prime minister. He was recently voted one of the country's most popular politicians.

Civic Democrats want to fight European Constitution

The Civic Democratic Party, which is slated to win the next general elections, has made it clear that it would fight the European Constitution. Addressing the conference the party's deputy chairman Petr Necas voiced radical opposition to the EU Constitution and said the party should explain its drawbacks to the public and recommend that people do not vote for it in a national referendum. The party's shadow foreign minister Jan Zahradil, said that the Civic Democrats did not want a federation of European states but a flexible structure in which countries could integrate according to their needs.

PM attempts to rally his party with eight point plan

Meanwhile, the head of the ruling Social Democratic Party Stanislav Gross attempted to rally the weakened and divided party for a crucial confrontation with their main rivals in the remaining 18 months to elections. At a meeting of the party's executive leadership, Gross unveiled an eight-point plan which should help the Social Democrats to regain lost ground and restore public trust. Stanislav Gross strongly emphasized his party's pro-EU policy, warning Czechs that the right wing Civic Democrats would plunge the country into political isolation.

Communists soften their rhetoric in order to attract more supporters

The Communist Party also planned its strategy for the months ahead at a meeting of its central committee this weekend. Opinion surveys suggest that the party would come second in elections if they were held today. Party leader Miroslav Grebenicek is advocating a change of style and rhetoric, which would attract more voters. He told the gathering that the party should make a point of distancing itself from the past and condemning the crimes committed in the 50s and in 1968. In advocating this new policy line, Miroslav Grebenicek has partly yielded to the party's reform faction headed by Jiri Dolejs and Miroslav Ransdorf. He made no mention though of wanting to change the party's name.

Weather:

Monday is expected to partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.

05-12-2004