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Zeman faces challenge from newcomer in Czech runoff

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Zeman faces challenge from newcomer in Czech runoff

Zeman faces challenge from newcomer in Czech runoff
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The Czech presidential election will go to a run-off after President Milos Zeman led the first round on Saturday, but failed to win enough votes to win outright.

With votes from 98.9 percent of districts counted, Zeman led the race with 38.6 percent of ballots cast, while his nearest rival, pro-Western academic Jiri Drahos, secured 26.6 percent.

Eight candidates have been vying to oust the 73 year old, whose inclination towards far-right groups and warm relations with Russia and China have split public opinion.

The vote is being seen as a referendum on Zeman, who's been in office since 2013.

He was greeted at the polling station on Saturday by a topless protester from international feminist group Femen, shouting 'Putin's slut'.

While Zeman won the first round of voting, Drahos is expected to be a formidable opponent in the second round vote in two weeks.