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Topalanek is surprise new ODS Leader

Senator Mirek Topolanek was elected new leader of the ODS, defeating Petr Necas, the favorite to win, in the second round by 179 votes to 168. Jan Zahradil then defeated Necas in the vote for first deputy leader. Necas, Petr Bendl, and Miroslava Nemcova were elected regular deputy leaders. According to Topolanek, the main task facing the ODS is to better present their ideas to the public.

Outgoing leader Vaclav Klaus conceded that Topolanek was not his favored candidate. Klaus commented somewhat enigmatically that he did not see a problem in Topolanek, but rather in the expectations that some ODS factions were placing in the new leader, which expectations cannot be fulfilled. Tabloid Blesk claims to have uncovered an SMS message in which Klaus describes Topolanek as phony.

(PBJ 16.xii.02)

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