Czech: Zeman, another anti-Immigration Persona wins second term
Incumbent Czech President, Milos Zeman has won a second term of five years in office following a tight run-off vote on Saturday, against rival Jiri Drahos.
Like US President, Donald Trump, Zeman fiercely opposes immigration and he is friendly with Russia. He objects to European Union (EU) sanctions against Russia.
Zeman took 52% of the vote to beat Mr Drahos, a pro-EU academic with no prior political experience.
BBC reports that voter turnout on Saturday was over 66%.
“The role of the Czech president is influential; the president can name the prime minister and sign bills passed by parliament into law.
He has promised to give Prime Minister Andrej Babis, a billionaire businessman, a second chance to form a government after his minority cabinet lost a confidence vote in parliament last week”, BBC said.
Mr Zeman’s current presidency will end March, so he plans to reappoint Mr Babis next month.
His position also allows him to appoint central bank board members and judges.
“In the end just 175,000 votes separated the two men as Milos Zeman, one of Europe’s most outspoken leaders, won a second term in office.
The result was a blow to liberal, pro-European voters who believed Jiri Drahos could bring about a change in Czech politics. It was vindication for those who believe in Mr Zeman’s ability to shield the country from immigration and militant Islam.
But there are persistent concerns about his health; suffering from diabetes, he can now barely walk unaided.
There was prolonged applause when Mr Drahos said he and his team would “carry on” – no-one’s sure yet exactly what that means.
The Man, Milos Zeman, aged 73
Joined the Communist Party in 1968 during the “Prague Spring” but was expelled in 1970 for opposing Soviet intervention that crushed moves towards liberal reforms
After communism fell he joined the left-leaning Social Democratic party and became leader in 1993
In 2013 he became the third president of the Czech Republic since it split from Slovakia in 1993
In his outspoken remarks on immigration he once said that Muslims were “impossible to integrate” into Europe
In the EU, he has fiercely opposed sanctions against Moscow and has made improving relations with China a priority