Anti mi­grant in­cum­bent favoured in Czech pres­i­den­tial vote

The Western Star - - WORLD -

PRAGUE, Czech Repub­lic — The Czechs are elect­ing a new president with eight can­di­dates hop­ing to un­seat the cur­rent con­tro­versy-court­ing leader.

The 73-year-old Mi­los Ze­man who is seek­ing re-elec­tion is a favourite to win the elec­tion’s first round vote on Fri­day and Satur­day.

The for­mer president of the Academy of Sciences, Jiri Dra­hos, and pop­u­lar song writer Michal Ho­racek are con­sid­ered ma­jor chal­lengers.

If no can­di­date achieves a ma­jor­ity, the top two will face each other in a runoff. Ze­man was elected to the largely cer­e­mo­nial post in 2013 dur­ing the coun­try’s first di­rect pres­i­den­tial vote, a vic­tory that re­turned the for­mer left-lean­ing prime min­is­ter to power. In of­fice, he’s be­come known for strong an­timi­grant rhetoric. He has also di­vided the na­tion with his pro-Rus­sian stance and sup­port for closer ties with China.

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