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Czech vote pits right against left, old against new

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Czech vote pits right against left, old against new


Two very different candidates will go head-to-head in the second round vote to pick the next President of the Czech Republic.

With the majority of votes counted, Former Czech Prime Minister Milos Zerman is in the lead with Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenburg coming a close second.

As well as left against right, the vote will pitch old against new.

Zeman likened the presidential duel to the situation in France, where the poll comes down to a choice between right or left, either an Hollande or a Sarkozy.

Commentators have described his immediate rival Karel Schwarzenburg as a 75-year-old titled prince, who is popular with young voters.

Zeman, along with Vaclav Havel and the retiring President Vaclav Klaus, presided over the country since the fall of communism.

Commentators say centre-right Schwarzenburg, a 75-year-old titled prince, is more popular with young voters.

He has played on this in interviews. “Milos Zerman is a former prime minister”, he has said, “but for me he belongs to the past, the last 10 to 15 years.”

Outgoing President Vaclav Klaus is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term.

Lauded by many for his economic policies in the 1990s, his departure is likely to be welcomed by many in Brussels.

He made no secret of his suspicion of plans for European integration.

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