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Czech Presidential Election amid pro-Russian, pro-European Voters

Czech Presidential Election amid pro-Russian, pro-European Voters

Sunday, 28 January, 2018 - 07:45

Voting resumed on Saturday morning in the second round of presidential election in the Czech Republic, in which incumbent President Milos Zeman competes with academic Jerry Drahaus.

More than 4.8 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots to choose between outgoing pro-Russian president and his pro-European rival.

The two-day election between two opposing candidates revealed division in Czech society, particularly on immigration issues and foreign policy trends.

73-year-old leftist Zeman, also known for his pro-China and anti-Muslim views and strong rural support, received 38.56 % of the votes in the first round, according to official results. 63-year-old Drahaus received 26.60 % of votes, thanks to votes from Prague and other major cities.

Voter Daniel Hajek, a worker, said to AFP he would choose the "Milos Zeman because he's opening the door to economic cooperation with countries like Russia and China. It's important for us."

Another Prague voter Lubos Horcic told AFP he was backing Drahos because "he will work to reconcile society and not divide it like Comrade Zeman", adding that Drahos was "moving towards Europe and the West and not towards the East".

Opinion polls showed that Drahos was likely to win the first round because most of the other seven candidates supported him. But the eve of the second round showed that votes were leaning to the sake of Zeman.

In a country where most of the population opposes receiving immigrants, Zeman has not missed an opportunity to attack his opponent on the matter.

Billboards across the Czech Republic sought to appeal to voters with anti-migrant messages: "Stop immigrants and Drahos. This is our country. Vote Zeman!"

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