Zeman says he can beat Klaus if Social Democrats are united

19-01-2003

Former prime minister Milos Zeman has said he can defeat the Civic Democrats' Vaclav Klaus in a presidential election if the party he once led, the Social Democrats, are united behind him. On Saturday Mr Zeman was named the Social Democrats' candidate for next Friday's second attempt to elect a new president, after a first vote last Wednesday proved inconclusive. He and Mr Klaus are the only candidates so far. However, the Social Democrats are not united over Milos Zeman's candidacy, with current party leader Vladimir Spidla refusing to lobby on Mr Zeman's behalf, and it is not clear whether he will receive all of the party's 81 votes. Current president Vaclav Havel steps down in two weeks time after 13 years in office.