Czech pres­i­dent leads vot­ing but will face runoff elec­tion

The Dallas Morning News - - World -

PRAGUE — Czech Pres­i­dent Mi­los Ze­man, a strong voice for anti-mi­grant poli­cies, failed to win re-elec­tion dur­ing the first round of vot­ing Satur­day and will face a runoff in two weeks against Jiri Dra­hos, the former head of the coun­try’s Academy of Sciences.

Ze­man and Dra­hos ad­vanced to a sec­ond round of vot­ing be­cause none of the nine can­di­dates seek­ing the Czech Repub­lic’s largely cer­e­mo­nial pres­i­dency re­ceived a ma­jor­ity of votes in the first round held Fri­day and Satur­day.

How­ever, with al­most all bal­lots counted by the Czech Sta­tis­tics Of­fice, Ze­man had 38.6 per­cent of the vote, a com­mand­ing lead over Dra­hos’ 26.6 per­cent.

Ze­man, 73, was elected in 2013 dur­ing the coun­try’s first di­rect pres­i­den­tial vote. As pres­i­dent, he has be­come a strong anti-mi­grant voice and ma­jor pro-Rus­sian voice in Euro­pean Union pol­i­tics.

He was one of the few Euro­pean lead­ers to en­dorse Don­ald Trump’s bid for the White House.

Dra­hos, 68, is seen as more Western-ori­ented and firmly sup­ports the coun­try’s EU and NATO mem­ber­ship.

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