Czechs Head to Polls for Presidential Runoff

World | January 25, 2013, Friday // 10:47|  views

Karel Schwarzenberg (L) and Milos Zeman (R). Photos by EPA/BGNES

Czechs are to vote Friday in the second and final round of the country's first direct presidential vote that will last into Saturday.

The presidential runoff following the first round held on January 11-12 left Karel Schwarzenberg, the Czech foreign minister and a prince from an 800-year-old aristocratic family, facing former Prime Minister Milos Zeman.

A total of 14,900 polling stations, including over 100 abroad, will be open for Czech citizens on Friday between 14:00 and 22:00 GMT and on Saturday between 8:00 and 14:00 GMT, RIA Novosti informs.

The election is of special importance, being the first time since democratic transition in the Czech Republic in 1989 that the President is elected directly by citizens, rather than by Parliament.

The new president will succeed Vaclav Klaus, a conservative Eurosceptic who has led the country for two 5-year terms.

Klaus's predecessor as president was the playwright and dissident Vaclav Havel, the leader of the Velvet Revolution that brought down Communist rule in 1989. Havel passed away in December 2011.

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Tags: Presidential elections, president, Karel Schwarzenberg, Milos Zeman, Jan Fischer, Czech Republic, elections, Vaclav Havel, Vaclav Klaus


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