Czech president leads voting but will face runoff election
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.