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First round of Czech presidential poll goes into second day

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Prague (dpa) - The first round of presidential elections in the Czech Republic went into a second day on Saturday with the incumbent Milos Zeman expected to be re-elected.

Zeman, 73, based his campaign on opposition to immigration and criticism of the European Union.

Pollsters predicted that he will not win more than half of the ballots cast in the first round, however, and will have to face the runner-up in the second round in two weeks, also to be held over two days.

Chemistry professor and two-time president of the Czech Academy of Sciences Jiri Drahos has been forecast to win the most votes among Zeman‘s eight challengers.

A political newcomer, Drahos, 68, has said that he wants to reverse the polarization of Czech society.

Presidents in the Czech Republic have little authority and limited influence beyond the ability to make constitutional appointments, though they can have an important influence on public opinion.

Around 8.4 million Czechs are eligible to cast ballots. Polls close at 2 pm (1300 GMT).

The first indications of the result are expected on Saturday night.


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