The Czech Republic has held its first direct presidential election, and defying polls predicting they were neck and neck, the former Social Democrat prime minister Milos Zeman, 68, has won with over 55% of the vote.
Whereas his opponent polled heavily in Prague and other large urban centres, Zeman benefitted from strong support in the provinces. He was also credited with privatising the main banks and attracting foreign investment when prime minister.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, a prince and member of one of central Europe’s greatest aristocratic houses, struggled to overcome his public image of being unable to speak perfect Czech, and his propensity, aged 75, to nod off at public meetings. His conservative party also raised taxes, cut social benefits and became mired in several corruption scandals.
The result makes it likely that the Czechs will tack further towards the EU as the outgoing head of state Vaclav Klaus is a leading eurosceptic.
- 1Istanbul attack: suspects thought to come from former USSR
- 2Slovakia attacks EU post-Brexit direction on eve of taking over presidency
- 3Putin rejects new arms race and builds bridges with Turkey
- 4Critics round on Boris Johnson after Gove wields Brexit knife
- 5Austria: Constitutional Court rules fresh presidential run-off vote must be held
Latest world news
British, US and European bond yields tumble on the prospect of lower interest rates
The UK needs a Brexit prime minister – Gove
Austria: Constitutional Court rules fresh presidential run-off vote must be held
Firefighting plane lost in Russia
Will Brexit help him? Australian PM calls for stability ahead of tight general election
Wires > News
- 15:07 CET Austrian election re-run likely to be in September or October -…
- 14:51 CET Pakistan warns of ‘blowback’ from moving too fast against militants
- 14:36 CET Junta-ruled Thailand says it will buy three Chinese submarines
- 14:13 CET Al Qaeda leader warns of ‘gravest consequences’ if Boston marathon…
- 14:04 CET Delays in Britain forming a government would hurt them and us -…
- 13:56 CET Slovenian foreign minister offers resignation over border issue -…
- 13:48 CET EU’s Juncker after Brexit – ‘Everyone wants EU reforms – but what…
- 13:46 CET Syria rebels retake key town in western coastal province -…