Challenge to Czech president4 February 2013
The head of the Czech Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague, has said he counts on Milos Zeman, the republic's newly elected centre-left president, to uphold national unity and "true values".
The 26 January election of Milos Zeman, whose Social Democrat party has vigorously opposed any concessions to Czech faith communities, was viewed as a serious blow to the predominant Catholic Church, several of whose leaders publicly backed his conservative rival, Karel Schwarzenberg.
Schwarzenberg, the Foreign Minister was defeated by 54.8 to 45.2 percent by Zeman in the first direct presidential ballot since the 1989 collapse of communist rule.
In a website commentary last week, the former Catholic primate, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, accused Zeman of "abasing himself" by seeking support from the Czech Communist Party.
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