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Pro-Russian Incumbent Wins First Round In Czech Presidential Election : The Two-Way : NPR

Czech President Milos Zeman speaks in Prague after polling stations closed for the Czech Republic’s presidential election Saturday. He finished first but will have to face a challenger in a runoff.

Matej Stransky/Pool/Reuters


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Matej Stransky/Pool/Reuters

Czech President Milos Zeman speaks in Prague after polling stations closed for the Czech Republic’s presidential election Saturday. He finished first but will have to face a challenger in a runoff.

Matej Stransky/Pool/Reuters

Czech President Milos Zeman has won the first round of voting in the Czech Republic’s presidential election Saturday, but will have to face second-place finisher Jiri Drahos in a runoff election later this month after failing to win a majority of votes.

Zeman, 73, who has been president of the central European country since 2013, emerged with 38.6 percent of the vote. He has stoked controversy in parts of Europe with support for Russia’s Vladimir Putin and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Zeman was also an early supporter of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election.

Zeman’s challenger for the second round, chemistry professor Jiri Drahos, finished second with 26.6 percent with all votes counted, according to the Czech Statistical Office. Former diplomat Pavel Fischer came in third with 10.2 percent, while the six remaining candidates all finished with less than 10 percent each.

The Czech presidency is a largely ceremonial post, but the president has the power to appoint the country’s prime minister after general elections and has an influential voice in politics.

Zeman has called for…

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