Czechia has re-elected Milos Zeman as president in the second round of the election, which took place January 26-27. Zeman has received 51% of the votes with 97% of the votes counted.
His opponent — the former head of the National Academy of Sciences, Jiri Drahos — received 48% of the vote.
Zeman’s victory comes amid questions about his campaign finances and concerns about his anti-immigrant and Euroskeptic rhetoric. Although the Czech presidency is not an overwhelmingly powerful office, many voters who opposed Zeman perceived the election as an opportunity to elect a president “with more respect and dignity,” Josef Pazderka, a journalist at the Aktualne.cz news site, told Hromadske earlier this month.
Zeman was the clear leader in the election’s first round on January 13, but secured just over 38% of the vote, prompting a second round.
Zeman is known for giving voice to rising Euroskeptic and anti-immigration sentiments within Czechia. He has also supported lifting the sanctions against Russia and recognizing Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
In Czechia, the president plays more of a ceremonial role, and the main power lies in the hands of the Prime Minister. However, the country’s current Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, is close ally and supporter of Zeman.
/By Sofia Fedeczko