Czech election: Zeman faces presidential run-off against Drahos

Czech President Milos Zeman arrives to cast a vote during the presidential election at a polling station in Prague, January 12, 2018Image copyright

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Milos Zeman remains well-known in rural areas

The Czech presidential election will go to a run-off after incumbent Milos Zeman led the first round however did not secure enough votes to win outright.

With nearly all results in, Mr Zeman had 39% ahead of his nearest rival Jiri Drahos on 26.3%. Turnout was 61%.

Mr Zeman, 73, can be seeking a second all 5-year term however has stoked controversy with his outspoken views in addition to pro-Russian stance.

The second round can be scheduled for 26-27 January.

The BBC’s Rob Cameron in Prague says Mr Zeman appears to have done worse than expected in rural areas, where his forthright views on immigrants in addition to political correctness have traditionally struck a chord. To avoid a run-off, he needed to secure more than half the vote.

Mr Drahos knows he incorporates a not bad chance of unseating Mr Zeman when the two men go head to head in two weeks’ time, he adds.

Many voters who chose one of the some other seven candidates are likely to switch their allegiance to Mr Drahos inside second round.

  • The politically incorrect president dividing a nation

President Zeman has become one of the EU’s most outspoken opponents of sanctions against Moscow in addition to has also made improving relations with China a priority.

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Turnout for the first round was 61%

Mr Drahos, a pro-European academic, has been forthright in his opposition to the president, saying: “We say in Czech that will ‘the fish stinks coming from the head’ in addition to that will perfectly sums up Mr Zeman’s term.”

The first round of voting, which took place over two days, passed uneventfully apart coming from a semi-naked protester who tried to disrupt Mr Zeman casting his vote in Prague on Friday in addition to accused him of being inside pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

She was bundled away in addition to Mr Zeman then cast his ballot, however was visibly shaken by the incident.

Who’s who in Czech run-off?

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Milos Zeman

  • Joined the Communist Party in 1968 during the “Prague Spring”, when liberal reforms were crushed by Soviet intervention
  • After communism fell he joined the left-leaning Social Democratic party in addition to became leader in 1993
  • In 2013 he became the third president of the Czech Republic since that will split coming from Slovakia in 1993
  • In his outspoken remarks on immigration he once said that will Muslims were “impossible to integrate” into Europe

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Jiri Drahos

  • Studied chemistry in addition to technology in addition to was president of the Czech Academy of Sciences coming from 2009 to 2017
  • He can be a supporter of EU in addition to Nato membership buts opposes the EU’s quota system for distributing migrants, as do all some other presidential contenders
  • He considers himself a centrist politician who can unite the country
  • His main support comes coming from pro-European voters in addition to people living in cities

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