Miloš Zeman and Jiří Drahoš have emerged as the strongest candidates from the first round of the Czech presidential election and are heading to a run-off for the top post in two weeks’ time.
The incumbent Czech president Miloš Zeman headed the polls going into the first round and confirmed the estimates by coming first with 38.6 percent of the vote.
Jiří Drahoš, a former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, who was regarded as Mr. Zeman’s most serious challenger, came second with over 26.6 percent of the vote.
Pavel Fischer, a diplomat and a former Czech ambassador to France, came in third with little over ten percent of the votes, closely followed by Michal Horáček and Marek Hilšer, who finished with 9.2 and 8.8 percent respectively. Former prime minister and former leader of the centre-right Civic Democratic Party Mirek Topolánek got a little over four percent to finish sixth, followed by Jiří Hynek, Petr Hannig and Vratislav Kulhánek.
Turnout in Friday and Saturday’s vote was slightly over 60 percent, more or less the same as in the first direct presidential elections five years ago.
Most commentators expect a tight race between Mr Zeman and Mr Drahoš in the run-off election. Much will probably depend on the voter turnout in the second round.