Zeman wins first round of Czech presidential vote

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Zeman wins first round of Czech presidential vote

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Former Prime Minister Milos Zeman took the lead in the first round of the Czech Republic’s presidential election.

With nine candidates in the running, the veteran left-winger won almost a quarter of the votes.

Zeman was one of the favourites during the campaign, but polls say he will face tough competition in the second round.

He will be in a run-off with Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg who achieved around 23.5 percent, for a second round of voting in two weeks’ time.

Schwarzenberg’s result was something of a surprise as pre-election polls placed Zeman and Jan Fisher, another former Prime Minister, as front runners.

The Czechs are taking part in their first direct vote for president, a role previously appointed by parliament.

With nine candidates now down to two, some may miss heavily tattooed musician Vladimir Franz who brightened up the campaign in the first round and came in fifth.