Czechs vote in knife-edge presidential run-off

The election has polarised Czech society, particularly around the issues of immigration and the foreign policy orientation of this former communist NATO and EU member state.

Czechs vote in knife-edge presidential run-off

World Bulletin / News Desk

Czechs returned to the polls Saturday for a second day of voting in a presidential run-off pitting pro-Russian incumbent Milos Zeman against liberal pro-European rival Jiri Drahos that promises to go down to the wire.

Bookmakers have given veteran populist Zeman the edge, but recent polls have shown the two candidates neck and neck. About 10 percent of voters remained undecided but polls show they too are split down the middle.

"This is a showdown between two completely different candidates representing two parts of a rather split society," political analyst Tomas Lebeda told AFP.

Known for his pro-Chinese and anti-Muslim stance, the populist Zeman took pole position in a field of nine candidates in the January 12-13 first round vote, garnering 38.56 percent of the ballot. Drahos, a former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) and a newcomer to politics, scored 26.60 percent.

A seasoned politician, Zeman represents poorer and rural voters with lower education, while political newcomer Drahos appeals to wealthier, well-educated urbanites.

Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2018, 16:21
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