Pro-Russian Czech president Milos Zeman wins second term

The Czech Republic votes on Friday and Saturday in a tight presidential run-off between two very different candidates.

"For Jiri Drahos, it would be important that young people from big cities come to vote".

Zeman is the country's third president, after Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, since Czechoslovakia was split in 1993.

Zeman, 73, an ardent supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and an early fan of U.S. President Donald Trump, had 52 percent of votes with 96 percent of districts counted, according to partial results published by the Statistics Office on Saturday.

Since then, he has divided the nation with his pro-Russian stance and support for closer ties with China. His challenger, a 68-year-old chemistry professor who pledged to anchor the nation of 10.6 million more firmly in the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, conceded after getting 48 percent.

However, Zeman gained more votes in this presidential runoff than five years ago when over 2.7 million voted for him.

"Among the losers" candidates are Pavel Fischer, former Czech ambassador in France, businessman Michal Horacek and doctor Marek Hilser, who together managed to get about 30 % of the vote, a statement highlights.

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Mr Zeman told supporters the result marked his "last political victory" as he pledged to continue the work he started in 2013, when he became the first Czech president to be elected by voters instead of... A political newcomer with no political party affiliation, Drahos has said he is anxious about the rise of extremism and populism.

Czech TV pegged turnout for round two at 66.6 percent, the highest figure since parliamentary elections in 1998.

That power was put on display this week as voters prepared to cast ballots in the second round of the country's presidential election. The victor of the vote may also influence a complicated political situation after billionaire Premier Andrej Babis's minority administration was forced to resign when it failed to win approval from lawmakers earlier this month. President Milos Zeman immediately asked Babis, his ally, to try again.

Zeman's victory is good news for Babis, who was a runaway victor in parliamentary elections in October with pledges to fight political corruption and run the state better.

His position also allows him to appoint central bank board members and judges.

Czech President Milos Zeman won a second term in an election victory against chemistry professor Jiri Drahos in which the incumbent warned voters that sheltering Muslim immigrants could lead to terrorist attacks. Zeman's critics say his efforts to strengthen ties with Russian Federation and China have undermined Czech relations with western allies.

  • Sonia Alvarado