Leftist ex-PM chosen as Czech Republic president

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Leftist ex-PM chosen as Czech Republic president

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A former Social Democrat prime minister of the Czech Republic has been voted the country’s next president.

Milos Zeman won 55 percent of the ballot in Saturday’s election, the first direct presidential vote.

The 68-year-old’s predecessors were all picked by parliament.

Zeman favours closer EU integration, a stark contrast to current president Vaclav Klaus who is known for his anti-Brussels rhetoric.

Polls suggested Zeman was neck and neck with his conservative opponent Karel Schwarzenberg, who suffered during the final campaign when doubts were cast on his loyalty to the nation.

With Zeman promising to move the Czech Republic closer to Europe’s mainstream, bets are now being taken on whether the EU flag will once again be seen on the roof of Prague Castle. Outgoing president Klaus famously refused to let it be flown.