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Czech president Miloš Zeman wins second term

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Pro-Russian leader receives 51.8% of votes in runoff against political newcomer Jiri Drahos





President Milos Zeman during the casting of his ballot at a polling station in Prague.






President Milos Zeman during the casting of his ballot at a polling station in Prague.
Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has been elected to a second five-year term after winning a runoff vote.

Results from the Czech Statistics Office on Saturday showed Zeman receiving 51.8% of the votes cast in the two-day, second-round election, with nearly all the ballots counted. His opponent, the former head of the Academy of Sciences, Jiří Drahoš, had 48.2%.

Drahoš conceded defeat to Zeman. “I would like to congratulate election winner Milos Zeman,” he told a crowd of supporters.

Zeman is the country’s third president – after Václav Havel and Václav Klaus – since Czechoslovakia was split in 1993. The 73-year-old former prime minister was elected in 2013 during the republic’s first presidential election to be decided by voters, not politicians.

Since then, he has divided the nation with his pro-Russia stance and support for closer ties with China. Drahoš, a 68-year-old political newcomer, was viewed as more western-oriented.

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