Destinations Magazine

The Czech Presidency: Karel Havel Or Milos Klaus?

By Stizzard
The Czech presidency: Karel Havel or Milos Klaus? Schwarzenberg, on fire

TWO elder statesmen will now face each other in the race to succeed Vaclav Klaus, the famously Eurosceptic Czech president. Milos Zeman, a former prime minister, narrowly beat Karel Schwarzenberg, the current foreign minister, in the first round, with scores of 24.2% and 23.4%, respectively. A run-off will be held on January 25th and 26th.Mr Zeman had been expected to come first, but Mr Schwarzenberg more than doubled his predicted share. In doing so he edged out the second favourite, Jan Fischer, another former prime minister. Mr Fischer, who was bleeding support in the campaign’s final weeks, ended up in third place with 16.4% of the vote. The Social Democrats’ candidate, Jiri Dienstbier (son of a famous ex-dissident), was the only other to surpass 7%: he got 16.1%.Some 61.3% of Czech voters cast their ballots in what was their first direct election for president. This came after a constitutional change last year that did away with a convoluted parliamentary process rife with back-room dealing. Even an elected head of state will have limited powers, but he helps to shape public opinion as well as formally…

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