Pro-Russian Czech president to face liberal in run-off: poll body

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Pro-Russian Czech incumbent Milos Zeman clinched pole position in the presidential election paving his way to a run-off against pro-European runner-up Jiri Drahos on January 26-27, near full results showed Saturday.

Zeman secured 38.75 percent of ballots after 99.13 percent of votes were counted from the election held on Friday and Saturday, while Drahos garnered 26.51, the Czech Statistics Office said.

"I invite all those who want to vote for me to come to the polling stations in round two too, and bring your friends, your lovers and their mistresses," the flamboyant 73-year-old Zeman told supporters gathered at his campaign headquarters in Prague.

"In the previous presidential election (2013), I got 24 percent in the first round and 54 percent in round two, and this year already 40 percent in round one," he added.

"I congratulate Jiri Drahos for this beautiful second place."

A former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Drahos told supporters at his Prague headquarters that he would spend the next 15 days campaigning to "anchor the Czech Republic in Euro-Atlanticism" in a clear jibe at the Kremlin-oriented Zeman.

As the results rolled in, analyst Jiri Pehe told AFP that "Zeman will have a huge problem in the second round."

"It is clear that the other candidates who have dropped out of the race, for example, Pavel Fischer, Marek Hilser and Michal Horacek, will vote Jiri Drahos in round two," Pehe said.

The combined voter support for the three more minor candidates stood at 28.15 percent with 99.13 percent of the vote counted.


© 2018 AFP

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