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Voting near an end in Czech Republic presidential ballot

Czech Republic

Voting near an end in Czech Republic presidential ballot

Polls close at 14:00 CET on Saturday as the Czech Republic votes for a president for the first time.

Previously, the president was chosen by politicians.

However, after accusations about a lack of transparency following Vaclav Klaus taking a second term in 2008, the coalition government insisted on a public vote.

The favourite to become president is chain-smoking Milos Zeman, who built up the centre-left Social Democrat party almost 25 years ago and served as the country’s first prime minister between 1998 and 2002.

A close second is another ex-prime minister, Jan Fischer, who is not linked to any party.

Both men are pro-European, unlike the current president. Polls suggest the most likely outcome is a second round run-off between the two.

However, the most colourful candidate is proving to be heavily tattooed Vladimir Franz. The composer and painter who has no political experience, is third according to polls, with around 11 percent.

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