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Czech president Zeman wins second term

January 27, 2018 3:11 PM
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Czech president Zeman wins second term

Czech President Milos Zeman has won a second five-year term in office following a tight run-off vote against rival Jiri Drahos.

Mr Zeman, a pro-Russia and strident opponent of immigration, took 52% of the vote, narrowly beating Mr Drahos, a pro-EU academic with no prior political experience, Czech television reports.

Saturday’s ballot was the second round for the presidential candidates.

In the first round, Mr Zeman had 38.6% of the vote while Mr Drahos won 26.6%.

Casting his vote on Friday, Mr Zeman said Mr Drahos lacked experience.

Meanwhile Mr Drahos thanked his supporters, saying their “energy will not be thwarted, whatever the outcome”, AFP news agency reported.

The election has reflected divisions between low-income voters with lower education and those living in rural areas, who tend to vote for Mr Zeman, and wealthier and well-educated residents of bigger cities, who are likely to prefer Mr Drahos, correspondents say.

The post of president is largely ceremonial but hugely influential. It picks, for instance, which politician can form a government.

Mr Zeman has promised to give Prime Minister Andrej Babis, a billionaire businessman, a second chance to form a government after his minority cabinet lost a confidence vote in parliament last week.

Mr Zeman’s current presidency does not end until March, so he plans to reappoint Mr Babis next month.


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