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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 18:23 GMT
Czech leader wins 'marred' poll
President Vaclav Klaus last week
President Klaus won just enough votes to narrowly beat his main rival
Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus has been re-elected by legislators, in a knife-edge vote reportedly marred by threats, bribes and corruption.

In recent days several Czech MPs and senators are said to have received gunpowder and bullets in the post in efforts to influence their choice.

Mr Klaus won 141 ballots in a joint session of some 280 MPs and senators.

The most divisive poll issues were EU relations and plans to site an American missile defence system on Czech soil.

President Klaus has a reputation as a firm Eurosceptic - in a nation that will host the EU rotating presidency next year - and supports US proposals to place a radar base near Prague.

The 66-year-old won just enough votes to beat his main rival, Czech-American economics professor Jan Svejnar, and secure five more years at Prague Castle.

The BBC's Rob Cameron in Prague says it took two elections, six rounds of voting and a week of intense campaigning, during which time a number of lawmakers were reportedly targeted by threats and blackmail.

The mafia-style pressure tactics of the last week will leave observers wondering just how far Czech political culture has fallen, our correspondent says.

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