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Czechs head to the polls in presidential election

Czech Republic

Czechs head to the polls in presidential election

Voting is underway in the Czech Republic in the first round of voting for the country’s next president.

With nine candidates in the running the race is wide-open, but it is clear that the current era is over.

The incumbent, Vaclav Klaus could not stand again, as by law a president must leave office after two terms.

The victor is likely to pursue a more pro-EU agenda than Klaus, an outspoken euro sceptic.

All the contenders faced off in a final televised debate on Thursday evening.

Polls suggest the most likely outcome is a second round run-off between former Prime Ministers Milos Zeman and Jan Fischer.

The participation of heavily tattooed musician Vladimir Franz has brightened up the campaign. He is not expected to win, but has won some support despite having no political experience.

This election is the first direct vote by the public. Previously, the president was chosen by parliament.

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