The ruling coalition has officially nominated university professor Jan Sokol as the government's candidate for president. A total of 97 of the 101 coalition deputies in the lower house signed Mr Sokol's nomination. The two houses of parliament meet in a joint session on Friday in a third attempt to elect a successor to Vaclav Havel, who stepped down as president three weeks ago. Mr Sokol faces former prime minister Vaclav Klaus, nominated by the opposition Civic Democrats. Every vote will be crucial if he is to defeat Mr Klaus on Friday, and he spent Tuesday lobbying for support among Social Democrat MPs, several of whom have refused to back him.
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