Zeman wins 2nd term in Czech presidential run-off

Zeman wins 2nd term in Czech presidential run-off

Prague - Zeman, 73, is the last prominent figure among active politicians from the country's post-communist transitional period in the 1990s.



By Reuters

Published: Sat 27 Jan 2018, 9:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 12:01 AM

Czech President Milos Zeman defeated pro-EU academic Jiri Drahos in the Czech presidential election on Saturday, a tacit endorsement Zeman's tough stance against immigration and his courtship of Russia and China.
With 99.35 per cent of districts reporting, Zeman won 51.55 per cent of the vote to 48.44 per cent for Drahos, who conceded the vote before all ballots were counted.
Zeman, 73, is the last prominent figure among active politicians from the country's post-communist transitional period in the 1990s. He has pleased some but alienated others by publicly belittling opponents ranging from the last prime minister to intellectual elites and the press. The vote reflected the divisions between liberals and conservatives seen elsewhere in Europe and in the United States.
Zeman has taken a tough stance on immigration and was one of the few European politicians to back Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election. He has also rankled much of society for warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and calls to end European Union sanctions against Moscow imposed over its annexation of Crimea.
Zeman has also been lukewarm towards the EU, calling himself a federalist and saying he supports membership in the bloc while also favoring holding an in-or-out referendum, like the one that has led to Britain's impending exit.
"Zeman never questioned the Czech membership in the EU, but on the other hand he said he would welcome a referendum on exit and in practice he deviated from both EU and Nato," said analyst Michael Romancov.


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