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Czech conservatives elect new leader
Czech party elects new leader as it tries to recover from a corruption scandal
Associated Press
2014-01-18 10:01 PM

PRAGUE (AP) -- A conservative Czech party that once dominated national politics has elected a former university rector as its new chairman as it tries to recover from a corruption scandal.

The Civic Democratic Party, now in the opposition, says 49-year-old Petr Fiala easily defeated two other candidates during a party congress Saturday.

He served as education minister until June, when the country's center-right coalition government of Prime Minister Petr Necas collapsed in a whirlwind of corruption allegations. Fiala replaces Necas, who was forced to resign as his party's chairman after an arrest of his closest aide with whom he was having an affair.

Their Civic Democratic Party was punished by voters in October's early parliamentary election, winning just 7.7 percent of the vote, a record low for the party.

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