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Czech PM retains party leadership

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 Czech PM retains party leadership
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Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has won a battle to remain leader of his ruling party.

His re-election diminished fears his cabinet could fall, three weeks before the country takes over the presidency of the European Union. And it has defeated a eurosceptic wing in his centre-right Civic Democrats that has been campaigning for parliament not to ratify the bloc’s Lisbon Treaty.

The premier appealed for unity after the vote at a party congress, but his minority coalition cabinet remains precarious and open to challenge.

Preparations are underway for the Czech Republic to take over from France at the helm of the EU next month. But Prague’s failure to ratify the Lisbon Treaty has raised doubts about its forthcoming role.

There are also concerns about whether the
politically unstable Czech Republic, which remains outside the euro zone, has what it takes to lead efforts to tackle the worst financial crisis in decades.